Novel catalysts for methane activation. Quarterly report number 10, January 1--March 31, 1995 Page: 3 of 14
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Methane is one of the most abundant sources of energy and is found naturally in
underground reservoirs and as a by-product of indirect liquefaction processes. Although methane
is useful as a fuel, it is not easily stored or transported, and for that reason, the efficient direct
conversion of methane to higher hydrocarbons is essential to provide an economical alternative
energy source. However, because the C-H bond of methane is stronger than that of the higher
hydrocarbons, high pyrolytic temperatures are needed, and the products tend to rapidly polymerize
to coke and unwanted hydrocarbons. 1,2
This project is designed to evaluate the feasibility of using fullerene materials as methane
activation catalysts. Fullerenes are a new allotrope of carbon consisting of closed shells of sixty or
more atoms.3 The full scope of the reactivity of these novel materials is not yet known. However,
SRI and others have demonstrated that fullerenes have unique properties, including the ability to
stabilize methyl radicals, shuttle H atoms, and act as electrophiles.4,5 Fullerenes have been found
to act as "radical sponges" that readily accommodate organic radicals. Thus we expect that
fullerenes or fullerene-based catalysts may be ideal for methane activation, and since these catalysts
are easily produced in soot, they can potentially be inexpensive catalysts and make the direct
conversion of methane into higher hydrocarbons inexpensive and environmentally sound.
In this project, novel fullerene-based catalysts are being synthesized and examined for their
ability to convert methane into olefins and other higher hydrocarbons. They will be examined
using a short-contact-time reactor to minimize any by-product formation due to free-radical
polymerization reactions. The primary objectives of this project are to synthesize and examine the
reactivities of fullerene-based catalysts and to develop an understanding of these catalysts in terms
of hydrogen activation, polymerization of methane into higher hydrocarbons, and minimizing of
PROJECT OBJECTIVES FOR THIS QUARTER
We had two objectives for this quarter. The first objective was to complete our study of the
K-doped fullerene soots to include the selectivity of these materials as a function of methane
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Hirschon, A.S.; Du, Y.; Wu, H.J.; Malhotra, R. & Wilson, R.B. Novel catalysts for methane activation. Quarterly report number 10, January 1--March 31, 1995, report, June 10, 1995; United States. (https://digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc624432/m1/3/: accessed April 19, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, https://digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.