Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Environmentally friendly way to produce propylene oxide using silver nanoclusters

Date:
April 15, 2010
Source:
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory
Summary:
Scientists have identified a new class of silver-based catalysts for the production of the industrially useful chemical propylene oxide that is both environmentally friendly and less expensive.

Argonne scientists (from left) Stefan Vajda, Larry Curtiss and Jeff Greeley have developed a new way of creating propylene that eliminates the many environmentally unfriendly by-products.
Credit: Image courtesy of DOE/Argonne National Laboratory

Scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's Argonne National Laboratory have identified a new class of silver-based catalysts for the production of the industrially useful chemical propylene oxide that is both environmentally friendly and less expensive.

Related Articles


"The production of propylene oxide has a significant amount of by-products that are harmful to the environment, including chlorinated or peroxycarboxylic waste," said chemist Stefan Vajda of Argonne's Materials Science Division and Center for Nanoscale Materials. "We have identified nanoclusters of silver as a catalyst that produce this chemical with few by-products at low temperatures."

Propylene oxide is commonly used in the creation of plastics and propylene glycols for paints, household detergents and automotive brake fluids.

The study is a result of a highly collaborative team that involved five Argonne Divisions and collaborators from the Fritz-Haber-Institut in Berlin and from the University of Illinois in Chicago, including a collaboration between the experimental effort led by Stefan Vajda and the theoretical analysis led by materials chemist Larry Curtiss and nanoscientist Jeff Greeley.

Large silver particles have been used to produce propylene oxide from propylene, but have suffered from a low selectivity or low conversion to propylene oxide, creating a large amount of carbon dioxide. Vajda discovered that nanoscale clusters of silver, consisting of both three atoms as well as larger clusters of 3.5 nanometers in size, are highly active and selective catalysts for the production of propylene oxide.

Curtiss and Greeley then modeled the underlying mechanism behind why these ultrasmall nanoparticles of silver were so effective in creating propylene oxide. They discovered that the open shell electronic structure of the silver catalysts was the impetus behind the nanoclusters selectivity.

"Propylene oxide is a building block in the creation of several other industrially relevant chemicals, but the current methods of creating it are not efficient," Curtiss said.

"This is basically a holy grail reaction," remarked Greeley. "The work opens a new chapter in the field of silver as a catalyst for propene epoxidation," added Curtiss.

Funding for this project was from the U.S. Department of Energy Office of Science and from the U.S. Air Force Office of Scientific Research. A paper on this work will be published in the April 9 issue of the journal Science.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by DOE/Argonne National Laboratory. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Y. Lei, F. Mehmood, S. Lee, J. Greeley, B. Lee, S. Seifert, R. E. Winans, J. W. Elam, R. J. Meyer, P. C. Redfern, D. Teschner, R. Schlφgl, M. J. Pellin, L. A. Curtiss, and S. Vajda. Increased Silver Activity for Direct Propylene Epoxidation via Subnanometer Size Effects. Science, 2010; 328 (5975): 224 DOI: 10.1126/science.1185200

Cite This Page:

DOE/Argonne National Laboratory. "Environmentally friendly way to produce propylene oxide using silver nanoclusters." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 15 April 2010. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100408160909.htm>.
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory. (2010, April 15). Environmentally friendly way to produce propylene oxide using silver nanoclusters. ScienceDaily. Retrieved March 6, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100408160909.htm
DOE/Argonne National Laboratory. "Environmentally friendly way to produce propylene oxide using silver nanoclusters." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2010/04/100408160909.htm (accessed March 6, 2015).

Share This


More From ScienceDaily



More Matter & Energy News

Friday, March 6, 2015

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Driverless Budii Gives the Wheel Feel

Driverless Budii Gives the Wheel Feel

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 6, 2015) — The Rinspeed Budii Concept car is creating a driverless stir at this year&apos;s Geneva car show. It&apos;s an all-electric autonomous vehicle with a difference. Ciara Lee reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Star Wars Inspires Mobile Holograms

Star Wars Inspires Mobile Holograms

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 6, 2015) — 3D holograms could soon be coming to your mobile phone. Inspired by the famous Princess Leia hologram from Star Wars, a U.S. company is showcasing a prototype display at the Mobile World Congress at Barcelona and says it could be used for real-time video calls. Ivor Bennett reports Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Game Makers Lured Into Virtual Worlds

Game Makers Lured Into Virtual Worlds

AFP (Mar. 6, 2015) — Some 25,000 people have descended upon San Francisco to show off the latest technologies and video games at the Game Developers Conference. Developers here discuss the future of the industry. Duration: 02:20. Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Gas Production Cut on Earthquake Fears

Gas Production Cut on Earthquake Fears

Reuters - Business Video Online (Mar. 5, 2015) — The Dutch government has cut production at Europe&apos;s largest gas field in Groningen amid concerns over earthquakes which are damaging local churches. As Amy Pollock reports the decision - largely politically-motivated - could have big economic conseqeunces. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Space & Time

Matter & Energy

Computers & Math

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins