Description: The production of hydrogen from methanol is of particular interest since the two reactions: CH/sub 4/ + H/sub 2/O + CO + 3H/sub 2/ and CO + 2H/sub 2/ = CH/sub 3/OH are individually well known industrial processes. Thus, if a method can be found to obtain the overall reaction: CH/sub 3/OH = CH/sub 4/ + 1/2 O/sub 2/ then, in total, a cyclic water splitting process is complete for which much of the industrial development is already known. A possible method is through the use of trimethylphosphine. This reacts with methanol to form a salt, tetramethyl phosphonium hydroxide: CH/sub 3/OH + (CH/sub 3/)/sub 3/P = (CH/sub 3/)/sub 4/POH. Tetramethylphosphonium hydroxide gives methane and trimethylphosphine oxide very readily: (CH/sub 3/)/sub 4/POH = CH/sub 4/ + (CH/sub 3/)/sub 3/PO. When anhydrous takes place readily at room temperature, but in the presence of water, the rate is retarded. In summary, the overall reaction can be written as: CH/sub 3/OH + (CH/sub 3/)/sub 3/P = CH/sub 4/ + (CH/sub 3/)/sub 3/PO. Thus, provided a way of removing oxygen from trimethylphosphine oxide can be found, (CH/sub 3/)/sub 3/PO = (CH/sub 3/)/sub 3/P + 1/2 O/sub 2/ is a simple method of converting methanol to methane and oxygen.
Date: January 1, 1982
Creator: Mason, C.F.V.
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