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Faculty of Biology, Chemistry & Earth Sciences

Solid state chemistry – mesostructured materials: Juniorprofessor Dr. Mirijam Zobel

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Structure-activity correlation of methanation catalysts via high-energy X-ray scattering

One of the major challenge for a sustainable power supply in the future is the long-term storage of renewable energy. A powerful approach is the power-to-gas concept, which uses excess energy to produce hydrogen via electrolytic water-splitting. The hydrogen can further react with CO2 to methane, in a so called methanation reaction.

For the methanation reaction highly active catalysts are needed which don’t deactivate under fluctuating hydrogen supply. Furthermore, they have to be resistant towards sintering.One promising route is the synthesis of novel catalysts through decomposition of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as precursors at high temperatures. For a better understanding of the mechanistic process of structural formations, as well as for the optimisation of the catalyst performance a thorough characterization of precursors and active catalysts is needed.

In this project we use high-energy X-ray scattering, in particular pair distribution function (PDF) analysis, to investigate the structure-activity correlation of methanation catalysts and their precursors. The PDF is a histogram of interatomic distances in the sample and high-energy X-rays can easily penetrate model reactors. Therefore, the PDF provides insight into the short and medium range order of the catalysts. Additionally we investigate in-operando

a) the decomposition of the MOFs,

b) the formation of the active phase and

c) the methanation reaction.

For these aims, we use Lab PDF and synchrotron facilities.

The project is part of the SPP2080 „Catalysts and reactors under dynamic conditions for energy storage and conversion“.

Associated PhD candidate: Nils Prinz

Webmaster: Nils Prinz

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