Natural gas utilisation has become an important research area in the last decade. The conversion of natural gas, mainly methane, into transportation fuels and added value chemicals is considered to be a promising alternative to make the use of this gas economically viable.
This project is divided into two parts. Part 1 (outgoing phase at the University of California, Berkeley) explores the conversion of methane to synthesis gas by using Group VIII metal and Ni. We intend to focus on the reaction mechanisms and kinetics to improve in that way the catalytic performance and to control the relative rates of exothermic (combustion, partial oxidation) and endothermic reactions (reforming) so as to maximise their concurrent occurrence in space and time and thus minimise undesired hot spots. Part 2 (Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry, Madrid) is related to the partial oxidation of methane into C1-oxygenates (methanol and formaldehyde) through a single catalytic step.
This process is of tremendous chemical and technological importance because it overcomes the synthesis gas generation, which is known to be a very expensive step. MoO3/SiO2 and V2O5/SiO2 materials will be used as a catalyst in our investigation. Our main goal is to increase the catalytic yield high enough to make this process economical and industrially feasible.
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