2012-18-EM New nanostructured catalysts for CO2 recycling and decontamination of industrial gas emissions (UCL-IMCN, LCMC-UPMC)
Environmental legislations and societal awareness, foster research towards new catalysts that could adress environmental issues such as CO2 reduction or total elimination of atmospheric pollutant. The challenges associated with these catalysts are numerous: (a) Catalyst preparation has to be as green as possible (no use of pollutants or toxic additives), (b) The use conditions of these catalysts have to be as soft as possible (for example low temperature), without compromising the requirements for high selectivity and high activity. (c) The catalysts have to be nearly indefinitely reusable. These drastic requisites have oriented research toward green preparation methods leading to nanostructured heterogeneous catalysts in which very active species are designed at the nanoscale.
This project aims at developing innovative nanostructured ruthenium based catalysts of interest for two environmentally important reactions: the methanation of CO2 and the total oxidation of volatile organic (chlorinated) pollutants. The methanation of CO2 with dihydrogen targets both the valorisation of CO2 and the vectorisation of dihydrogen via methane. The total catalytic destruction of volatile organic compounds (alkanes, chloroaromatics, dioxins) is crucial for the treatment of gas effluents from incineration and biomass cogeneration units.
Highly stable colloidal suspension of 2nm monodispered ruthenium oxide nanoparticles can be prepared, via an oxidative aqueous route (C. Sassoye et al. Green Chem. 2011). These particles, once deposited onto an appropriate catalyst support are highly attractive for catalytic application. Studies and optimizations on these new systems will concern:
(i) The support: nature, composition, porosity, crystallinity and structure (tailor-made supports, see for example Cassaignon et al. J. Mater. Sci. 2007)
(ii) The mode of incorporation of the RuO2 nanoparticles: impregnation (C. Sassoye et al. Green Chem. 2011), direct growth (unpublished), aerosol encapsulation (Debecker et al. Angew. Chem. Submitted).
(iii) The thermal treatments and reaction conditions.
To assess the catalytic performances, one crucial criterion will be that the catalyst is active at relatively low temperature (low energy input, high product selectivity, no post-purification needed). Our project will also attempt to extend this new green route to the synthesis of other nanoparticles of interest in the field of environmental catalysis (rhodium, gold, palladium, nickel….).
Project Partners and their Roles
Laboratoire de Chimie de la Matière Condensée de Paris (LCMCP) at Université Pierre et Marie Curie (UPMC), Paris: preparation of the catalysts, Physico-chemical characterization
Heterogeneous catalysis laboratory at theInstitute of Condensed Mater and nanosciences (IMCN), Université catholique de Louvain (UCL), Llouvain-La-Neuve: characterisation of catalytic behaviour, Physico-chemical characterization
UMICORE, is a multinational company, active in various fields of industrial chemistry and focussed on noble metals and their use as catalysts in homogeneous and heterogeneous processes. UMICORE will offer an industrial experience linked to the project (use of noble metals for catalysis) and enlightening the connections between research and business aspects.
Nanostructured RuO2/TiO2 catalyst observed in STEM-HAADF (Scanning transmission electron microscopy – high angle angular dark field) imaging. The catalyst is obtained via the controlled deposition of calibrated RuO2 nanoparticles onto a rutile TiO2 support and exhibits excellent activity levels in the methanation of CO2.