1660320212332 1204 Cheaper Catalyst

Cheaper Catalyst Beckons

April 2, 2012
The researchers hope to explore the catalytic potential of a wide range of sulfidic and carbidic materials.

Iron pyrite (Figure 1), the most abundant sulfur mineral, potentially can serve as a catalyst, say researchers at Cambridge University, Cambridge, U.K. First-principles electronic structure calculation coupled with ultra-high-vacuum single-crystal experiments indicate the material can catalyze the reduction of nitrogen oxides, they report.

Iron Pyrite
Figure 1. The mineral's abundance makes it cheap and thus attractive as a catalyst. Source: Cambridge University.

Work underway aims to identify and quantify reaction products and to provide a fairly complete picture of the range of possibilities for using the pyrite as a catalyst, notes Stephen Jenkins of the school's department of chemistry, who is heading the research.

"Even if the new process were to be less efficient than one catalyzed by platinum, say, the economics of using an abundant mineral like pyrite could be the deciding factor," he explains. "…We feel that the most interesting possibilities for pyrite-based catalysts lie in applications where huge quantities of catalysts are required (e.g., production of commodity chemicals or vehicle emission controls)."

Such catalysts may offer an additional benefit, Jenkins says. "…Many traditional catalysts are poisoned by sulfur, which can block surface sites over time. Using a catalyst that is itself a sulfur compound may give an advantage, since the surface is, in effect, already saturated with sulfur… This can be particularly important when dealing with hydrocarbon feedstocks from low-quality sources or derived from biomass."

The researchers hope to explore the catalytic potential of a wide range of sulfidic and carbidic materials.

Sponsored Recommendations

Keys to Improving Safety in Chemical Processes (PDF)

Many facilities handle dangerous processes and products on a daily basis. Keeping everything under control demands well-trained people working with the best equipment.

Comprehensive Compressed Air Assessments: The 5-Step Process

A comprehensive compressed air audit will identify energy savings in an air system. This paper defines the 5 steps necessary for an effective air audit.

Get Hands-On Training in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment

Enhance the training experience and increase retention by training hands-on in Emerson's Interactive Plant Environment. Build skills here so you have them where and when it matters...

Managing and Reducing Methane Emission in Upstream Oil & Gas

Measurement Instrumentation for reducing emissions, improving efficiency and ensuring safety.