Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Synthetic fuels from natural gas and biomass? New Fischer-Tropsch catalyst invented

Date:
March 5, 2013
Source:
Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA)
Summary:
Inspired by patents from the 1960s audio cassette recording industry, chemists now developed a new Fischer-Tropsch catalyst. It can be used for the making of synthetic fuels from natural gas and biomass.

Inspired by patents from the 1960s audio cassette recording industry, UvA chemists now developed a new Fischer-Tropsch catalyst. It can be used for the making of synthetic fuels from natural gas and biomass. This week the research on the new nanocobalt-ironoxide catalyst was published as a VIP article in Angewandte Chemie. The catalyst was patented by the Total S.A. oil and gas company.

Roberto Calderone, Raveendran Shiju and Gadi Rothenberg from the Heterogeneous Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry group (Van 't Hoff Institute for Molecular Sciences) succeeded in growing nanometer-thin cobalt shells on iron oxide particles. These new materials are excellent Fischer-Tropsch (F-T) catalysts, giving good diesel fractions.

The Fischer-Tropsch process is used for producing fuels from synthesis gas, which in turn is made from natural gas, biomass or coal. The large reserves of shale gas and natural gas currently changing the world energy market have raised interest in F-T technology. But there is a catch: F-T reactors are huge, and typically use hundreds of tons of catalyst.

Low cost, high performance

Cobalt-based catalysts are the optimal choice for synthesizing middle distillate fuels such as diesel and kerosene with F-T technology. But cobalt is also expensive. In 2009 the Total Gaz & Power company contacted Rothenberg's group to develop a new F-T catalyst together. The UvA researchers took up the challenge to design a cheaper catalyst that can be prepared on a very large scale, yet performs at least as well as pure cobalt.

The chemical aspects of their ambition were daunting. Gaining an economic advantage requires engineering of the particles at single-nanometer resolution, yet in a manner that can be scaled up to multi-ton scale. This rules out all chemical procedures that require high sophistication, extreme temperatures, or expensive chemicals.

Inspired by audio tape

The UvA team sought to meet these restraints with the so-called surface nucleation of a cobalt phase onto iron oxide colloids. They were inspired by the method that companies such as TDK used in the 1960s for producing magnetic tapes for audio cassettes. The standard recording materials in these cassettes were polymer-based tapes containing cigar-shaped cobalt-doped iron oxide particles.

After two years of hard work they achieved a cheap, reliable, efficient and, most importantly, scalable method for synthesizing spherical core-shell catalyst particles. The particles have an average diameter of 10 nanometer (nm) and consist of a 8 nm magnetite (iron oxide) core with a cobalt oxide shell of only 1 nm. The new catalysts were then tested in collaboration with research groups of Andreas Jess in Bayreuth and Andrei Khodakov in Lille. They proved to be excellent Fischer-Tropsch catalysts, giving good diesel fractions.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA). Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. V. Roberto Calderone, N. Raveendran Shiju, Daniel Curulla-Ferrι, Stιphane Chambrey, Andrei Khodakov, Amadeus Rose, Johannes Thiessen, Andreas Jess, Gadi Rothenberg. De Novo Design of Nanostructured Iron-Cobalt Fischer-Tropsch Catalysts. Angewandte Chemie International Edition, 2013; DOI: 10.1002/anie.201209799

Cite This Page:

Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA). "Synthetic fuels from natural gas and biomass? New Fischer-Tropsch catalyst invented." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 5 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305080701.htm>.
Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA). (2013, March 5). Synthetic fuels from natural gas and biomass? New Fischer-Tropsch catalyst invented. ScienceDaily. Retrieved July 28, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305080701.htm
Universiteit van Amsterdam (UVA). "Synthetic fuels from natural gas and biomass? New Fischer-Tropsch catalyst invented." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130305080701.htm (accessed July 28, 2014).

Share This




More Matter & Energy News

Monday, July 28, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

The Carbon Trap: US Exports Global Warming

AP (July 28, 2014) — AP Investigation: As the Obama administration weans the country off dirty fuels, energy companies are ramping-up overseas coal exports at a heavy price. (July 28) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Shipping Crates Get New 'lease' On Life

Reuters - Business Video Online (July 25, 2014) — Shipping containers have been piling up as America imports more than it exports. Some university students in Washington D.C. are set to get a first-hand lesson in recycling. Their housing is being built using refashioned shipping containers. Lily Jamali reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

Europe's Highest Train Turns 80 in French Pyrenees

AFP (July 25, 2014) — Europe's highest train, the little train of Artouste in the French Pyrenees, celebrates its 80th birthday. Duration: 01:05 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

TSA Administrator on Politics and Flight Bans

AP (July 24, 2014) — TSA administrator, John Pistole's took part in the Aspen Security Forum 2014, where he answered questions on lifting of the ban on flights into Israel's Tel Aviv airport and whether politics played a role in lifting the ban. (July 24) Video provided by AP
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