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Visualizing the importance of oxide-metal phase transitions in the production of synthesis gas over Ni catalysts

MPS-Authors
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Sandoval Diaz,  Luis
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Plodinec,  Milivoj
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Ivanov,  Danail
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Hammud,  Adnan
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Nerl,  Hannah
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Schlögl,  Robert
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;
Max Planck Institute for Chemical Energy Conversion;

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Lunkenbein,  Thomas
Inorganic Chemistry, Fritz Haber Institute, Max Planck Society;

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Citation

Sandoval Diaz, L., Plodinec, M., Ivanov, D., Poitel, S., Hammud, A., Nerl, H., et al. (2020). Visualizing the importance of oxide-metal phase transitions in the production of synthesis gas over Ni catalysts. Journal of Energy Chemistry, 50, 178-186. doi:10.1016/j.jechem.2020.03.013.


Cite as: http://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0006-4374-C
Abstract
Synthesis gas, composed of H2 and CO, is an important fuel which serves as feedstock for industrially relevant processes, such as methanol or ammonia synthesis. The efficiency of these reactions depends on the H2: CO ratio, which can be controlled by a careful choice of reactants and catalyst surface chemistry. Here, using a combination of environmental scanning electron microscopy (ESEM) and online mass spectrometry, direct visualization of the surface chemistry of a Ni catalyst during the production of synthesis gas was achieved for the first time. The insertion of a homebuilt quartz tube reactor in the modified ESEM chamber was key to success of the setup. The nature of chemical dynamics was revealed in the form of reversible oxide-metal phase transitions and surface transformations which occurred on the performing catalyst. The oxide-metal phase transitions were found to control the production of synthesis gas in the temperature regime between 700 and 900 °C in an atmosphere relevant for dry reforming of methane (DRM, CO2: CH4 =0.75). This was confirmed using high resolution transmission electron microscopy imaging, electron energy loss spectroscopy, thermal analysis, and C18O2 labelled experiments. Our dedicated operando approach of simultaneously studying the surface processes of a catalyst and its activity allowed to uncover how phase transitions can steer catalytic reactions.