Stabilization of Metal Nanoparticle Catalysts via Encapsulation in Mesoporous Zeolites by Steam-Assisted Recrystallization

Kristoffer Hauberg Rasmussen, Farnoosh Goodarzi, David Benjamin Christensen, Jerrik Jørgen Mielby*, Søren Kegnæs

*Corresponding author for this work

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Zeolite encapsulated metal nanoparticle catalysts hold great promise for several green and sustainable processes, ranging from environmental remediation to renewable energy and biomass conversion. In particular, the microporous zeolite framework keeps the nanoparticles in a firm grip that can control selectivity and prevent sintering at high temperatures. While progress in the synthesis of mesoporous zeolites continues, the encapsulation of metal nanoparticles remains a challenge that often requires complex procedures and expensive additives. Here, we report a general method to encapsulate both base and noble metal nanoparticles inside the internal voids of a compartmentalized mesoporous zeolite prepared by carbon templating and steam-assisted recrystallization. This results in a remarkable shell-like morphology that facilitates the formation of small metal nanoparticles upon simple impregnation and reduction. When the materials are applied in catalysis, we for instance demonstrate that zeolite encapsulated Ni nanoparticles are highly active, selective, and stable catalysts for CO2 methanation (49% conversion with 93% selectivity at 450 °C)—a reaction where catalysts often suffer from sintering due to the high reaction temperatures. While the introduction of Ni nanoparticles prior to the steam-assisted recrystallization results in the formation of inactive nickel phyllosilicates, noble metals such as Pt do not suffer from this limitation. Therefore, we also demonstrate the synthesis of an active catalyst prepared by the formation of Pt nanoparticles prior to the shell synthesis. We tested the zeolite encapsulated Pt nanoparticles for hydrogenation of linear and cyclic alkenes with increased chain length. The catalysts are active for hydrogenation of oct-1-ene (66% conversion) and cyclooctene (79% conversion) but inactive for the large cyclododecane (<1% conversion), which show that this type of catalyst is highly selective in size selective catalysis. All catalysts are characterized by XRD, TEM, XPS, and N2 physisorption.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Nano Materials
Issue number12
Pages (from-to)8083-8091
Publication statusPublished - 2019


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