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Nanocomposite Catalyst


Development of an Efficient, Inexpensive Nanocomposite Catalyst and Elaboration of a Flexible Technology to Produce Syn-Gas for Fuel Cells

Tech Area / Field

  • CHE-IND/Industrial Chemistry and Chemical Process Engineering/Chemistry

8 Project completed

Registration date

Completion date

Senior Project Manager
Mitina L M

Leading Institute
VNIIEF, Russia, N. Novgorod reg., Sarov

Supporting institutes

  • Boreskov Institute of Catalysis, Russia, Novosibirsk reg., Akademgorodok


  • Washington University / Department of Chemical Engineering, USA, MO, Saint Louis\nKorea Institute of Energy Research, Korea, Yusong-gu

Project summary

The main goal of the Project is to develop a monolithic catalyst with the decreased precious metal content (less than 0.3%), able to provide the selective oxidation of hydrocarbon stuff into syn-gas with the output of 40 – 70 thousand liters/hour per liter of the catalyst. Another goal is to elaborate the technology of this catalyst application, including the development and fabrication of the reformer (converter) prototype to ensure the technological process of the selective oxidation of hydrocarbon stuff into syn-gas. The capacity of the reformer prototype should be sufficient for a 5 kW FC-based power plant. The expected volume of the catalytic monolith for the reformer prototype of a 5 kW power plant will be (0.1 – 0.2) liters with 100 – 200 g mass.
A considerable share of the costs of BOP of the FC-based power plants (PP) falls at the syn-gas converter for syn-gas (a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen) generation from hydrocarbon fuel. Hence, the development of an efficient and cost-saving technology of syn-gas generation is an essential step towards wide-scale application of the fuel cell (FC) – based PP.
The problems set above in the present Project should be solved using the following methodological approaches:
· molecular synthesis of nanocomposites with the specified physical-chemical properties and the optimal configuration of structured catalytic layer accounting the role of heat- and mass transfer and gas-cycle reactions and determination of the optimal technological modes of the process;
· technology of syn-gas generation from liquid and gaseous hydrocarbon fuels based upon application of this catalyst;
· maximal integration of the functional units in the course the development of a prototype of the converter (reformer) to provide the technological process of the selective oxidation of hydrocarbon stuff.

Expected results and their application:
Because of the Project implementation, a new high-performance technology of syn-gas generation from various hydrocarbon stuff will be developed, including the following basic elements:
· Metal nanoparticles with the chemical composition and the surface structure able to provide high rate of hydrocarbon activation and dissociation into hydrogen and CH2 fragments will be synthesized.
· An oxide support will be developed to provide high rate of oxygen (or oxygenic complexes, such as hydroxyls and/or carbonates) activation and diffusion to the perimeter of the coated metal nanoparticles where the dissociated hydrocarbon fragments oxidize into syn-gas. It will also be stable in the reducing medium. To prevent metal nanoparticles’ oxidation by mobile oxygen of the support, one may propose to separate the support and the metal by an interlayer of the inert oxide buffer. To preserve high rate of oxygen migration to the perimeter of metal nanoparticle, such buffer interlayer must be located directly under the metal.
· A prototype of the converter (reformer) will be developed to provide the required technological process of selective oxidation of hydrocarbon stuff with the small contact period.

Description of the Project participants

The project will be implemented by a team of highly skilled experts mostly involved in the development of weapons. It includes doctors and candidates of science, experts in chemistry, physics, catalysis, science of materials, the development of power equipment and automation of experimental studies. Man-effort of the scientists and experts associated with the development of weapons amounts to 169 man/months or 51 % of the total man effort on the Project. The IC RAS Project participants have the required expertise in synthesis and study of nanostructured catalytic systems of various types using modern techniques (sol-gel, hydrothermal treatment, etc.) and in their further investigation by the updated physical methods (V.A.Sadykov, S.N.Pavlova et al., Mat. Res. Innov. 2, 328 (1999); 3, 276 (2000)). They also have the equipment and experience in the development of monolithic thin-walled corundum supports and in the creation on their basis of nanostructured catalysts, including those designed to be used in a process of selective oxidation of methane into syn-gas at short contact periods (S.N.Pavlova et al., Proceedings, CHISA, Chekh Republic, Prague, 1998); S.N.Pavlova et al., Natural Gas Conversion V, Stud. Surf. Sci. Catal. 119. 759 (1998); V.N.Parmon, G.G.Kuvshinov, V.A. Sadykov and V.A.Sobyanin, Stud. Surf. Sci. Catal. 119. 685 (1998).

The RFNC-VNIIEF Project participants have the required expertise in the development of fuel preparation systems for the 1-5 kW MCFC – based PP applying compact reformers for air and steam conversion of gaseous hydrocarbons. The availability of multitype research and production base, bench test equipment for carrying out investigations and testing makes it possible to solve the widest range of scientific and technical problems arising in a process of creation of fuel processors.


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