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Modeling Transition Metal Catalysts for Small Molecule Activation and Functionalization

Description: There is a high demand for the development of processes for the conversion of ubiquitous molecules into industrially useful commodities. Transition metal catalysts are often utilized for the activation and functionalization of small organic molecules due to their diverse nature and proven utility with a myriad of chemical transformations. The functionalization of methane (CH4) and dinitrogen (N2) to methanol (CH3OH) and ammonia (NH3) respectively is of particular interest; however, both methane and dinitrogen are essentially inert due to the inherit strength of their bonds. In this dissertation a series of computational studies is performed to better understand the fundamental chemistry behind the functionalization of methane and the activation of dinitrogen in a homogeneous environment. A catalytic cycle is proposed for the oxy-functionalization of methane to methanol. The cycle consists of two key steps: (1) C-H activation across a metal-alkoxide bond (M-OR), and (2) regeneration of the M-OR species through an oxy-insertion step utilizing external oxidants. The C-H activation step has been extensively studied; however, the latter step is not as well understood with limited examples. For this work, we focus on the oxy-insertion step starting with a class of compounds known to do C-H activation (i.e., Pt(II) systems). Computational studies have been carried out in an attempt to guide experimental collaborators to promising new systems. Thus, the majority of this dissertation is an attempt to extend transition metal mediated C-O bond forming reactions to complexes known to perform C-H activation chemistry. The last chapter involves a computational study of the homogeneous cleavage of N2 utilizing iron-?-diketiminate fragments. This reaction has been studied experimentally, however, the reactive intermediates were not isolated and the mechanism of this reaction was unknown. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations are carried out to elucidate the mechanism of the reductive cleavage of N2 via the sequential addition ...
Date: May 2013
Creator: Figg, Travis M.
Partner: UNT Libraries

Water Uptake in PEMFC Catalyst Layers

Description: Water uptake profiles of proton-exchange-membrane fuel-cell catalyst layers are characterized in the form of capillary-pressure saturation (Pc-S) curves. The curves indicate that the catalyst layers tested are highly hydrophilic and require capillary pressures as low as -80 kPa to eject imbibed water. Comparison of materials made with and without Pt indicates a difference in water ejection and uptake phenomena due to the presence of Pt. The addition of Pt increases the tendency of the catalyst layer to retain water. Dynamic vapor sorption (DVS) is used to characterize the water-vapor sorption onto Nafion, Pt/C, and C surfaces. The DVS results align with the trends found from the Pc-S curves and show an increased propensity for water uptake in the presence of Pt. The effect of the ion in Nafion, sodium or protonated form, is also compared and demonstrates that although the protonation of the Nafion in the catalyst layer also increases hydrophilicity, the effect is not as great as that caused by Pt.
Date: July 1, 2011
Creator: Gunterman, Haluna P.; Kwong, Anthony H.; Gostick, Jeffrey T.; Kusoglu, Ahmet & Weber, Adam Z.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Report of 1,000 Hour Catalyst Longevity Evaluation

Description: This report presents the results of a 1,000 hour, high-pressure, catalyst longevity test for the decomposition of concentrated sulfuric acid. The reaction is used for both the sulfur-iodine (S-I) cycle and hybrid sulfur cycle. By the time of the delivery date of April 17, 2009, for project milestone no. 2NIN07TC050114, the 1% Pt/TiO2 catalyst had been in the reaction environment for 658 hours. During the first 480 hours of testing, the catalyst activity provided stable, near-equilibrium yields of 46.8% SO2 and 22.8% O2. However, product yields declined at sample exposure times >480 hours. At 658 hours of operation, catalyst activity (based on oxygen yield) declined to 57% relative to the stable period of catalyst activity. Thus, as of April 17, this catalyst did not provide the desired stability level of <10% degradation per 1,000 hours. The experiment was terminated on April 27, after 792 hours, when a fitting failed and the catalyst was displaced from the reactor such that the sample could not be recovered. Oxygen conversion at the end of the experiment was 12.5% and declining, suggesting that at that point, catalyst activity had decreased to 54% of the initial level.
Date: June 1, 2009
Creator: Ginosar, Daniel M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Catalytic Upgrading of Sugars to Hydrocarbons Technology Pathway

Description: In support of the Bioenergy Technologies Office, the National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) and the Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL) are undertaking studies of biomass conversion technologies to hydrocarbon fuels to identify barriers and target research toward reducing conversion costs. Process designs and preliminary economic estimates for each of these pathway cases were developed using rigorous modeling tools (Aspen Plus and Chemcad). These analyses incorporated the best information available at the time of development, including data from recent pilot and bench-scale demonstrations, collaborative industrial and academic partners, and published literature and patents. This technology pathway case investigates the catalytic conversion of solubilized carbohydrate streams to hydrocarbon biofuels, utilizing data from recent efforts within the National Advanced Biofuels Consortium (NABC) in collaboration with Virent, Inc.. Technical barriers and key research needs that should be pursued for the catalytic conversion of sugars pathway to be competitive with petroleum-derived gasoline, diesel and jet range hydrocarbon blendstocks have been identified.
Date: March 31, 2013
Creator: Biddy, Mary J. & Jones, Susanne B.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Structural and Morphological Properties of Carbon Supports: Effect of Catalyst degradation, ECS Transactions 33(1), 425 (2010)

Description: The object of this work was to identify correlations between performance losses of Pt electrocatalysts on carbon support materials and the chemical and morphological parameters that describe them. Accelerated stress testing, with an upper potential of 1.2 V, was used to monitor changes to cathode properties, including kinetic performance and effective platinum surface area losses. The structure and chemical compositions were studied using X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy and Scanning Electron Microscopy coupled with Digital Image Processing. As this is an ongoing study, it is difficult to draw firm conclusions, though a trend between support surface area overall performance loss was found to exist.
Date: April 1, 2011
Creator: Patel, A.; Artyushkova, K.; Atanassov, P.; Young, A.; Dutta, M.; Ahmad, Z. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Characterization of microenvironment polarity and solvent accessibility of polysilsesquioxane xerogels by the fluorescent probe technique

Description: Poly (1, 4 bis(triethoxysilyl)benzene) (PTESB), a representative of a new type of organic-inorganic hybrid polysilsesquioxane material, was characterized by fluorescence spectroscopy for both microenvironmental polarity and solvent accessibility. A dansyl fluorescent molecule was incorporated into the bulk as well as onto the surface of both PTESB and silica materials. Information about the microenvironment polarity and accessibility of PTESB to various organic solvents was determined and compared to that of silica gel. This study found that both the bulk and surface of PTESB are less polar than that of the silica material. The silica material is accessible to polar solvents and water, while YMB is accessible to polar solvents but not to water. The hydrophobicity of PTESB differentiates these new materials from silica gel.
Date: May 1, 1995
Creator: Shea, K.J.; Zhu, H.D. & Loy, D.A.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department


Description: An experiment was conducted to determine if the oxygen supply in a CuO catalyst considered for use in the TMIST-2 irradiation test would be sufficient to convert all the hydrogen isotopes coming from the irradiation test to water. A mixture of 2% H2 in Ar was supplied to a modified MRB 500 stack m onitor from Mound Techology Solutions, Miamisburg, OH. It was found that the catalyst could convert 3.75E-03 moles of H2 before losing its effectiveness. Conversion was found to begin at a catalyst temperature of about 220 deg C and to be fully effective at about 300 deg C.
Date: October 1, 2008
Creator: Longhurst, Glen R. & Pawelko, Robert J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Liquid-Water Uptake and Removal in PEM Fuel-Cell Components

Description: Management of liquid water is critical for optimal fuel-cell operation, especially at low temperatures. It is therefore important to understand the wetting properties and water holdup of the various fuel-cell layers. While the gas-diffusion layer is relatively hydrophobic and exhibits a strong intermediate wettability, the catalyst layer is predominantly hydrophilic. In addition, the water content of the ionomer in the catalyst layer is lower than that of the bulk membrane, and is affected by platinum surfaces. Liquid-water removal occurs through droplets on the surface of the gas-diffusion layer. In order to predict droplet instability and detachment, a force balance is used. While the pressure or drag force on the droplet can be derived, the adhesion or surface-tension force requires measurement using a sliding-angle approach. It is shown that droplets produced by forcing water through the gas-diffusion layer rather than placing them on top of it show much stronger adhesion forces owing to the contact to the subsurface water.
Date: September 23, 2011
Creator: Das, Prodip K.; Gunterman, Haluna P.; Kwong, Anthony & Weber, Adam Z.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Novel Catalytic Membrane Reactors

Description: There are many industrial catalytic organic reversible reactions with amines or alcohols that have water as one of the products. Many of these reactions are homogeneously catalyzed. In all cases removal of water facilitates the reaction and produces more of the desired chemical product. By shifting the reaction to right we produce more chemical product with little or no additional capital investment. Many of these reactions can also relate to bioprocesses. Given the large number of water-organic compound separations achievable and the ability of the Compact Membrane Systems, Inc. (CMS) perfluoro membranes to withstand these harsh operating conditions, this is an ideal demonstration system for the water-of-reaction removal using a membrane reactor. Enhanced reaction synthesis is consistent with the DOE objective to lower the energy intensity of U.S. industry 25% by 2017 in accord with the Energy Policy Act of 2005 and to improve the United States manufacturing competitiveness. The objective of this program is to develop the platform technology for enhancing homogeneous catalytic chemical syntheses.
Date: October 1, 2010
Creator: Stuart Nemser, PhD
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Effect of Graphitic Content on Carbon Supported Catalyst Performance

Description: The effect of graphitic content on carbon supported platinum catalysts was investigated in order to investigate its influence on catalyst performance. Four catalysts of varying surface areas and graphitic content were analyzed using XPS, HREELS, and tested using RDE experiments. The catalysts were also heat treated at 150 C and 100%RH as means to uniformly age them. The heat treated samples were analyzed using the same methods to determine what changes had occurred due to this aging process. When compared to the BOL catalysts, heat treated catalysts displayed increased graphitic carbon and platinum metallic content, however they also showed depressed catalytic activity. The primary cause is still under investigation, though it is believed to be related to loss of amorphous carbon content.
Date: July 1, 2011
Creator: Patel, A.; Artyushkova, K.; Atanassov, P.; Harvey, David; Dutta, M.; Colbow, V. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Biomass Gas Cleanup Using a Therminator

Description: The objective of the project is to develop and demonstrate a novel fluidized-bed process module called a “Therminator” to simultaneously destroy and/or remove tar, NH3 and H2S from raw syngas produced by a fluidized-bed biomass gasifier. The raw syngas contains as much as 10 g/m3 of tar, 4,000 ppmv of NH3 and 100 ppmv of H2S. The goal of the Therminator module would be to use promising regenerable catalysts developed for removing tar, ammonia, and H2S down to low levels (around 10 ppm). Tars are cracked to a non-condensable gas and coke that would deposit on the acid catalyst. We will deposit coke, much like a fluid catalytic cracker (FCC) in a petroleum refinery. The deposited coke fouls the catalyst, much like FCC, but the coke would be burned off in the regenerator and the regenerated catalyst would be returned to the cracker. The rapid circulation between the cracker and regenerator would ensure the availability of the required amount of regenerated catalyst to accomplish our goal. Also, by removing sulfur down to less than 10 ppmv, NH3 decomposition would also be possible in the cracker at 600-700°C. In the cracker, tar decomposes and lays down coke on the acid sites of the catalyst, NH3 is decomposed using a small amount of metal (e.g., nickel or iron) catalyst incorporated into the catalyst matrix, and H2S is removed by a small amount of a metal oxide (e.g. zinc oxide or zinc titanate) by the H2S-metal oxide reaction to form metal sulfide. After a tolerable decline in activity for these reactions, the catalyst particles (and additives) are transported to the regenerator where they are exposed to air to remove the coke and to regenerate the metal sulfide back to metal oxide. Sulfate formation is avoided by running the regeneration with slightly sub-stoichiometric quantity ...
Date: March 6, 2012
Creator: Dayton, David C.; Kataria, Atish & Gupta, Rabhubir
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Novel Intermetallic Catalysts to Enhance PEM Membrane Durability

Description: The research examined possible sources of degradation of platinum based anode catalysts under long term use. Scientists at the United Technologies Research Center had shown that the anode as well as the cathode catalysts degrade in hydrogen fuel cells. This goal of this research was to see if mechanisms of anode degradation could be understood using forefront electrochemical techniques in an aqueous system. We found that this method is limited by the very low levels of impurities (perhaps less than a part per trillion) in the electrolyte. This limitation comes from the relatively small catalyst surface area (a few sq cm or less) compared to the electrolyte volume of 10 to 25 ml. In real fuel cells this ratio is completelyreversed: high catalyst surface area and low electrolyte violume, making the system much less sensitive to impurities in the electrolyte. We conclude that degradation mechanisms should be studied in real fuel cell systems, rather than in ex-situ, large electrolyte volume experiments.
Date: January 6, 2009
Creator: DiSalvo, Francis J.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Dual Layer Monolith ATR of Pyrolysis Oil for Distributed Synthesis Gas Production

Description: We have successfully demonstrated a novel reactor technology, based on BASF dual layer monolith catalyst, for miniaturizing the autothermal reforming of pyrolysis oil to syngas, the second and most critical of the three steps for thermochemically converting biomass waste to liquid transportation fuel. The technology was applied to aged as well as fresh samples of pyrolysis oil derived from five different biomass feedstocks, namely switch-grass, sawdust, hardwood/softwood, golden rod and maple. Optimization of process conditions in conjunction with innovative reactor system design enabled the minimization of carbon deposit and control of the H2/CO ratio of the product gas. A comprehensive techno-economic analysis of the integrated process using in part, experimental data from the project, indicates (1) net energy recovery of 49% accounting for all losses and external energy input, (2) weight of diesel oil produced as a percent of the biomass to be ~14%, and (3) for a ‘demonstration’ size biomass to Fischer-Tropsch liquid plant of ~ 2000 daily barrels of diesel, the price of the diesel produced is ~$3.30 per gallon, ex. tax. However, the extension of catalyst life is critical to the realization of the projected economics. Catalyst deactivation was observed and the modes of deactivation, both reversible and irreversible were identified. An effective catalyst regeneration strategy was successfully demonstrated for reversible catalyst deactivation while a catalyst preservation strategy was proposed for preventing irreversible catalyst deactivation. Future work should therefore be focused on extending the catalyst life, and a successful demonstration of an extended (> 500 on-stream hours) catalyst life would affirm the commercial viability of the process.
Date: September 29, 2012
Creator: Lawal, Adeniyi
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Bibliography of Work on the Heterogeneous Photocatalytic Removal of Hazardous Compounds from Water

Description: The subject of this report is chemistry and engineering for the application of heterogeneous photocatalysts. The state of the art in catalysts are forms of titanium dioxide or modifications thereof, but work on other heterogeneous catalysts is included.
Date: July 29, 1999
Creator: Blake, D. M.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Investigating the effects of proton exchange membrane fuel cell conditions on carbon supported platinum electrocatalyst composition and performance

Description: Changes that carbon-supported platinum electrocatalysts undergo in a proton exchange membrane fuel cell environment were simulated by ex situ heat treatment of catalyst powder samples at 150 C and 100% relative humidity. In order to study modifications that are introduced to chemistry, morphology, and performance of electrocatalysts, XPS, HREELS and three-electrode rotating disk electrode experiments were performed. Before heat treatment, graphitic content varied by 20% among samples with different types of carbon supports, with distinct differences between bulk and surface compositions within each sample. Following the aging protocol, the bulk and surface chemistry of the samples were similar, with graphite content increasing or remaining constant and Pt-carbide decreasing for all samples. From the correlation of changes in chemical composition and losses in performance of the electrocatalysts, we conclude that relative distribution of Pt particles on graphitic and amorphous carbon is as important for electrocatalytic activity as the absolute amount of graphitic carbon present
Date: April 30, 2012
Creator: Patel, A.; Artyushkova, K.; Atanassov, P.; Colbow, V.; Dutta, M.; Harvey, D. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Investigating the performance of catalyst layer micro-structures with different platinum loadings

Description: In this study a four-phase micro-structure of a PEFC catalyst layer was reconstructed by randomly placing overlapping spheres for each solid catalyst phase. The micro-structure was mirrored to make a micro-structure. A body-fit computational mesh was produced for the reconstructed micro-structure in OpenFOAM. Associated conservation equations were solved within all the phases with electrochemical reaction as the boundary condition at the interface between ionomer and platinum phases. The study is focused on the platinum loading of CL. The polarization curves of the micro-structure performance have been compared for different platinum loadings. This paper gives increased insight into the relatively greater losses at decreased platinum loadings.
Date: July 1, 2012
Creator: Khakaz-Baboli, Moben; Harvey, David & Pharoah, Jon
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

A Semi-Empirical Two Step Carbon Corrosion Reaction Model in PEM Fuel Cells

Description: The cathode CL of a polymer electrolyte membrane fuel cell (PEMFC) was exposed to high potentials, 1.0 to 1.4 V versus a reversible hydrogen electrode (RHE), that are typically encountered during start up/shut down operation. While both platinum dissolution and carbon corrosion occurred, the carbon corrosion effects were isolated and modeled. The presented model separates the carbon corrosion process into two reaction steps; (1) oxidation of the carbon surface to carbon-oxygen groups, and (2) further corrosion of the oxidized surface to carbon dioxide/monoxide. To oxidize and corrode the cathode catalyst carbon support, the CL was subjected to an accelerated stress test cycled the potential from 0.6 VRHE to an upper potential limit (UPL) ranging from 0.9 to 1.4 VRHE at varying dwell times. The reaction rate constants and specific capacitances of carbon and platinum were fitted by evaluating the double layer capacitance (Cdl) trends. Carbon surface oxidation increased the Cdl due to increased specific capacitance for carbon surfaces with carbon-oxygen groups, while the second corrosion reaction decreased the Cdl due to loss of the overall carbon surface area. The first oxidation step differed between carbon types, while both reaction rate constants were found to have a dependency on UPL, temperature, and gas relative humidity.
Date: January 1, 2013
Creator: Young, Alan; Colbow, Vesna; Harvey, David; Rogers, Erin & Wessel, Silvia
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Rh-Based Mixed Alcohol Synthesis Catalysts: Characterization and Computational Report

Description: The U.S. Department of Energy is conducting a program focused on developing a process for the conversion of biomass to bio-based fuels and co-products. Biomass-derived syngas is converted thermochemically within a temperature range of 240 to 330°C and at elevated pressure (e.g., 1200 psig) over a catalyst. Ethanol is the desired reaction product, although other side compounds are produced, including C3 to C5 alcohols; higher (i.e., greater than C1) oxygenates such as methyl acetate, ethyl acetate, acetic acid and acetaldehyde; and higher hydrocarbon gases such as methane, ethane/ethene, propane/propene, etc. Saturated hydrocarbon gases (especially methane) are undesirable because they represent a diminished yield of carbon to the desired ethanol product and represent compounds that must be steam reformed at high energy cost to reproduce CO and H2. Ethanol produced by the thermochemical reaction of syngas could be separated and blended directly with gasoline to produce a liquid transportation fuel. Additionally, higher oxygenates and unsaturated hydrocarbon side products such as olefins also could be further processed to liquid fuels. The goal of the current project is the development of a Rh-based catalyst with high activity and selectivity to C2+ oxygenates. This report chronicles an effort to characterize numerous supports and catalysts to identify particular traits that could be correlated with the most active and/or selective catalysts. Carbon and silica supports and catalysts were analyzed. Generally, analyses provided guidance in the selection of acceptable catalyst supports. For example, supports with high surface areas due to a high number of micropores were generally found to be poor at producing oxygenates, possibly because of mass transfer limitations of the products formed out of the micropores. To probe fundamental aspects of the complicated reaction network of CO with H2, a computational/ theoretical investigation using quantum mechanical and ab initio molecular dynamics calculations was initiated in ...
Date: August 1, 2013
Creator: Albrecht, Karl O.; Glezakou, Vassiliki Alexandra; Rousseau, Roger J.; Engelhard, Mark H.; Varga, Tamas; Colby, Robert J. et al.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Interfacial Electrochemistry of Copper and Spectro-Electrochemical Characterization of Oxygen Reduction Reaction

Description: The first part of this dissertation highlights the contents of the electrochemical characterization of Cu and its electroplating on Ru-based substrates. The growth of Ru native oxide does diminish the efficiency of Cu plating on Ru surface. However, the electrochemical formed irreversible Ru hydrate dioxide (RuOxHy) shows better coverage of Cu UPD. The conductive Ru oxides are directly plateable liner materials as potential diffusion barriers for the IC fabrication. The part II of this dissertation demonstrates the development of a new rapid corrosion screening methodology for effective characterization Cu bimetallic corrosion in CMP and post-CMP environments. The corrosion inhibitors and antioxidants were studied in this dissertation. In part III, a new SEC methodology was developed to study the ORR catalysts. This novel SEC cell can offer cheap, rapid optical screening results, which helps the efficient development of a better ORR catalyst. Also, the SEC method is capable for identifying the poisoning of electrocatalysts. Our data show that the RuOxHy processes several outstanding properties of ORR such as high tolerance of sulfation, high kinetic current limitation and low percentage of hydrogen peroxide.
Date: August 2011
Creator: Yu, Kyle Kai-Hung
Partner: UNT Libraries