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.

"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 July 30, 2014 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 July 30, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

Britain Testing Driverless Cars on Roadways

AP (July 30, 2014) — British officials said on Wednesday that driverless cars will be tested on roads in as many as three cities in a trial program set to begin in January. Officials said the tests will last up to three years. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

China's Drone King Says the Revolution Depends on Regulators

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 30, 2014) — Comparing his current crop of drones to early personal computers, DJI founder Frank Wang says the industry is poised for a growth surge - assuming regulators in more markets clear it for takeoff. Jon Gordon reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

3Doodler Bring 3-D Printing to Your Hand

AP (July 30, 2014) — 3-D printing is a cool technology, but it's not exactly a hands-on way to make things. Enter the 3Doodler: the pen that turns you into the 3-D printer. AP technology writer Peter Svensson takes a closer look. (July 30) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Climate Change Could Cost Billions, According To White House

Newsy (July 29, 2014) — A report from the White House warns not curbing greenhouse gas emissions could cost the U.S. billions. Video provided by Newsy
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:
from the past week

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