Argonne National Laboratory

New Process for Synthesizing Robust Catalysts

March 9, 2012

The two main routes for the deactivation of catalysts consisting of metal nanoparticles are coking (the accumulation of carbon on the metal that blocks the catalytic sites) and sintering (the formation of larger metal particles that lowers the activity). Catalyst deactivation is costly because catalysts must be regenerated or replaced, and because processes are shut down while these steps are taken.  Scientists at Argonne National Laboratory and Northwestern University have recently demonstrated that alumina (Al2O3) over-coating of supported metal nanoparticles effectively reduces deactivation by coking and sintering in high-temperature applications. When overcoated Pd catalysts were used for 1 hour at 650°C, coking was reduced by over 90% compared to the bare catalyst.  Moreover, no particle sintering was seen after reaction at 675°C for 28 hours.

J. Lu, B. Fu, M. C. Kung, G. Xiao, J. W. Elam, H. H. Kung, and P. C. Stair, “Coking and Sintering Resistant Palladium Catalysts Achieved Through Atomic Layer Deposition,” Science, 2012