Understanding and manipulating the surface chemistry of MXenes to enable their use as cracking catalysts

Project: Research project

Project Details

Description

Understanding and manipulating the surface chemistry of MXenes to enable their use as cracking catalysts Understanding and manipulating the surface chemistry of MXenes to enable their use as cracking catalysts Catalytic cracking of long-chain hydrocarbons into more useful short-chain fuels is a huge effort of the petroleum industry since it ensures the production of a number of necessary industrial products, such as gasoline, ethylene, and propylene. While the industry can rely on a long history of the involved chemical processes, it is still an active field of research, mostly due to the availability of enhanced characterization techniques (e.g. of the catalyst structure), heavier feedstocks and new consumer demands concerning the exact composition and nature of the cracking products. Hence, new catalysts might open the way to tailored products and ultimately new technologies. Here, we will use fundamental chemistry concepts to evaluate two-dimensional carbides (MXenes), that are exceptionally tunable, metallic, hydrophilic and oftentimes mechanically stable, as potential cracking catalysts. MXenes are obtained by exfoliation of ternary carbides (MAX phases). The chemical composition M2CTx of an MXene is very versatile (varying M element), while Tx denotes the different surface functionalities (-OH, -O, -F) that depend on the chemical exfoliation and processing conditions. We will focus on MXenes with early transition metals (e.g. Ti, V, Nb) that are known to act as Lewis acids (necessary for catalytic cracking) with varying strength depending on their electronegativity, size, and chemical environment. We will, therefore (i) vary their composition and surface structure, (ii) manipulate their surface chemistry, i.e. Lewis acidity and (iii) test the resulting materials as cracking catalysts for long-chain hydrocarbons that to the best of our knowledge has not been done before.
StatusActive
Effective start/end date9/1/198/31/22

Funding

  • ACS: Petroleum Research Fund: $110,000.00

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