The Catalyst Review December 2019 - 6

New Catalyst: Easy on
Resources, Less Expensive,
and Highly Selective...
Chemists at the University of Bayreuth
have developed a sustainable,
inexpensive, and at the same time
potent catalytic process: it requires
no rare precious metals and enables
the targeted production of many
fine chemicals, natural products,
and medical agents. This opens up a
broad spectrum of new possibilities
for making industrial processes much
more cost-effective for consumers
while conserving resources for future
generations. The catalyst used in this
new process can be produced easily
and inexpensively on the basis of
common metals and commercially
available charcoal. At the same
time it is recyclable. What's more,
this process does not require the
use of valuable resources such as
the precious metals iridium and
palladium for catalysis. Deoxygenation
is critical in the industrial production
of numerous fine chemicals, natural
products, and medical agents: it
involves strategically extracting
individual oxygen atoms from organic
compounds. The new catalyst is able
to accomplish this and only requires
hydrogen gas, thereby reducing
costs considerably. There is also
another advantage: the catalyst is
able to remove oxygen atoms from
complex molecules in such a way that
neighbouring functional groups are
not altered or destroyed. As a result,
it is possible to use the new catalyst at
a late stage in the course of a longer
synthesis process. "Our research
is further proof that developing
powerful reusable catalysts does
not have to be based on expensive
and rare precious metals. Significant
progress has recently been made
in the key areas of sustainability,
cost reduction, and technological
efficiency. Not least with regard to
the precise 'fine-tuning' of complex
chemical structures, there are
certainly still surprising discoveries
ahead of us," said Prof. Dr. Rhett
Kempe from the University of

Bayreuth. Prof. Kempe coordinated the research with his team in Bayreuth, working
together closely with researchers at the Leibniz Institute for New Materials in
Saarbrücken (INM), the University of Saarbrücken, and the FAU Erlangen-Nürnberg.
Source:, 12/2/2019.
New Catalyst Method Promises Better Use of Syngas, Coal...
The world's first project to industrially synthesize 25 kt/a of higher alcohols from
syngas passed a continuous 72-hour catalyst performance test in Yulin, Shaanxi
Province, China. The project, developed by researchers from the Dalian Institute of
Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, offers a new method
for directly synthesizing high value-added fine chemicals from syngas and suggests
new ways to cleanly convert and utilize coal resources. Results of the catalyst test
showed that at 30% of catalyst loading, total conversion of syngas exceeded 84%;
selectivity of methane was less than 6%; and selectivity of alcohols/aldehydes/
olefins exceeded 60%. DICP scientists and their collaborators have been conducting
basic research and industrial testing on high-selectivity production of higher
alcohols from syngas over Co-based catalysts since 2004. As part of their research,
they designed a series of novel Co-based catalysts, namely, activated carbon
supported Co-CO2C catalysts. The active site of these catalysts is supposed to be
the interfacial sites between metallic Co and cobalt carbide (CO2C). The researchers
also proposed the mechanism by which alcohols are formed on the interfacial sites
between Co and the CO2C sites. That is, CO molecules are associatively adsorbed
on the surface of the CO2C sites and then inserted into the alkyl chain formed on
the adjacent metallic Co sites. The new catalytic method may make Fischer-Tropsch
synthesis (FTS) more practical. The results of the current catalyst test suggest that
the direct conversion of syngas into high value-added fine chemicals can now be
accomplished at industrial scale, thus suggesting many more opportunities for
cleanly and efficiently utilizing coal resources. Source:, 11/26/2019.
Ammonia Synthesis Made Easy with 2D Catalyst...
The Brown School of Engineering lab of materials scientist Jun Lou manipulated
a two-dimensional crystal it understands well -- molybdenum disulfide -- and
turned it into a catalyst by removing atoms of sulfur from the latticelike structure
and replacing the exposed molybdenum with cobalt. This allowed the material to
mimic the natural organic process bacteria used to turn atmospheric dinitrogen into
ammonia in organisms. The inorganic process will allow ammonia to be produced
anywhere it's needed as a small-scale adjunct to industry. The researchers
already knew that molybdenum disulfide had an affinity to bond with dinitrogen.
Computational simulations by Mingjie Liu, a research associate at Brookhaven
National Laboratory, showed replacing some exposed molybdenum atoms with
cobalt would enhance the compound's ability to facilitate dinitrogen's reduction
to ammonia. Lab tests at Rice University showed this was so. The researchers
assembled samples of the nanoscale material by growing defective molybdenum
disulfide crystals on carbon cloth and adding cobalt. (The crystals are technically 2D
but appear as a plane of molybdenum atoms with layers of sulfur above and below.)
With current applied, the compound yielded more than 10 grams of ammonia per
hour using 1 kilogram of catalyst. "The scale is not comparable to well-developed
industrials processes, but it can be an alternative in specific cases," said co-lead
author Jing Zhang, a postdoctoral researcher at Rice. "It will allow the production
of ammonia where there is no industrial plant, and even in space applications." He
said lab experiments used dedicated feeds of dinitrogen, but the platform can as
easily pull it from the air. Lou said other dopants may allow the material to catalyze
other chemicals, a topic for future studies. Source: Science Daily, 11/25/2019.

The Catalyst Review											

December 2019

The Catalyst Review December 2019

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of The Catalyst Review December 2019

The Catalyst Review December 2019 - cover
The Catalyst Review December 2019 - contents
The Catalyst Review December 2019 - 1
The Catalyst Review December 2019 - 2
The Catalyst Review December 2019 - 3
The Catalyst Review December 2019 - 4
The Catalyst Review December 2019 - 5
The Catalyst Review December 2019 - 6
The Catalyst Review December 2019 - 7
The Catalyst Review December 2019 - 8
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