Molybdenum Carbide-Based Catalysts for Gasoline Steam Reforming

Oscar G. Marin Flores, Chemical Engineering, Washington State University, Pullman, WA 99164

The rapid development of the fuel cell technology has encouraged researchers to optimize the reforming processes for mobile applications. The energy efficiency of a fuel cell-powered car based on gasoline as fuel will be higher than that of a car with an internal combustion engine. In addition, previous research has found molybdenum carbide to be an excellent catalyst for reforming purposes as it displays high catalytic activity and is also resistant to both sulfur and coking. Furthermore, molybdenum carbide is less expensive than noble metals, which makes it cost-effective in terms of hydrogen large-scale production. Unfortunately, a drawback about the usage of Mo2C for steam reforming is that it requires high temperatures to exhibit high hydrogen yields. The present investigation is intended to optimize the performance of Mo2C-based catalysts for gasoline steam reforming. To achieve this, different supporting materials and promoters will be used to prepare catalysts that will be tested to measure their catalytic activity as a function of the temperature. The objective of this work is to find a combination supporting material-promoter that is able to produce hydrogen from gasoline through steam reforming at low temperatures. Recent findings lead us to think that the particle size has a significant impact on the catalytic performance. By virtue of this, the catalyst particle size will be also examined to determine its actual influence over the catalytic activity. Finally, to compare the structure of the different supported catalysts employed in this investigation, a set of characterization runs will be carried out to analyze the internal structures. This characterization work includes X-ray diffraction (XRD) to determine the crystalline structure of both fresh and spent samples, and XPS to examine the composition of the catalyst surface. In addition, SEM imaging will provide information about the morphology of the catalyst particles.

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