Zhejiang University: Scientists develop a novel catalyst to promote CO hydrogenation

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The research team led by Prof. XIAO Feng-Shou and Dr. WANG Liang from the Zhejiang University College of Chemical and Biological Engineering in collaboration with Prof. ZHENG Anmin’s team from Chinese Academy of Sciences developed a novel catalytic system that can lead to a remarkable increase in the efficiency of coal-to-olefins. This study has important implications for the development of low-temperature efficient catalysts and the clean production of chemicals from coal. The findings were published in the journal Science on July 22.

“The production of light olefins from syngas (a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen, primarily from coal and biomass gasification) using catalysts under a certain temperature (300°C-450°C) is an extensively-used production process. This reaction system often produces a certain amount of water, which hinders the performance of catalysts. To address this problem, our team mixed hydrophobic poly(divinylbenzene) with cobalt-manganese carbide. The carbon monoxide conversion soared from 32.2% to 63.5% at 250°C,” said Prof. Xiao, the corresponding author of the study.



“When hydrophobic materials are mixed into catalysts, the water generated in the reaction process will be rapidly desorbed and diffused. The microscopic environment where active sites are located will become relatively ‘dry’, which will provide favorable conditions for the catalysts to work continuously and efficiently,” said Dr. Wang, one of the authors of the study.

According to the researchers, the new hydrophobic catalytic system can be physically mixed to modulate the performance of catalysts in a damage-free manner. It can be efficiently produced without modifying the existing industrial reaction route.

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