Nanotechnology Now







Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button


DHgate

Home > Press > Nanocatalyst is a gas

Professor Michael Wong
Professor Michael Wong

Abstract:
A nanoparticle-based catalyst developed at Rice University may give that tiger in your tank a little more roar.

By Mike Williams

Nanocatalyst is a gas

Houston, TX | Posted on September 19th, 2010

A new paper in the Journal of the American Chemical Society details a process by Rice Professor Michael Wong and his colleagues that should help oil refineries make the process of manufacturing gasoline more efficient and better for the environment.

In addition, Wong said, it could produce higher-octane gasoline and save money for an industry in which a penny here and a penny there add millions to the bottom line.

Wong's team at Rice, in collaboration with labs at Lehigh University, the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas and the DCG Partnership of Texas, reported this month that sub-nanometer clusters of tungsten oxide lying on top of zirconium oxide are a highly efficient catalyst that turns straight-line molecules of n-pentane, one of many hydrocarbons in gasoline, into better-burning branched n-pentane.

While the catalytic capabilities of tungsten oxide have long been known, it takes nanotechnology to maximize their potential, said Wong, a Rice professor of chemical and biomolecular engineering and of chemistry.

After the initial separation of crude oil into its basic components -- including gasoline, kerosene, heating oil, lubricants and other products -- refineries "crack" (by heating) heavier byproducts into molecules with fewer carbon atoms that can also be made into gasoline. Catalysis, a chemical process, further refines these hydrocarbons.

That's where Wong's discovery comes in. Refineries strive to make better catalysts, he said, although "compared with the academic world, industry hasn't done much in terms of new synthesis techniques, new microscopy, new biology, even new physics. But these are things we understand in the context of nanotechnology.

"We have a way to make a better catalyst that will improve the fuels they make right now. At the same time, a lot of existing chemical processes are wasteful in terms of solvents, precursors and energy. Improving a catalyst can also make the chemical process more environmentally friendly. Knock those things out, and they gain efficiencies and save money."

Wong and his team have worked for several years to find the proper mix of active tungsten oxide nanoparticles and inert zirconia. The key is to disperse nanoparticles on the zirconia support structure at the right surface coverage. "It's the Goldilocks theory - not too much, not too little, but just right," he said. "We want to maximize the amount of these nanoparticles on the support without letting them touch.

"If we hit that sweet spot, we can see an increase of about five times in the efficiency of the catalyst. But this was very difficult to do."

No wonder. The team had to find the right chemistry, at the right high temperature, to attach particles a billionth of a meter wide to grains of zirconium oxide powder. With the right mix, the particles react with straight n-pentane molecules, rearranging their five carbon and 12 hydrogen atoms in a process called isomerization.

Now that the catalyst formula is known, making the catalyst should be straightforward for industry. "Because we're not developing a whole new process - just a component of it - refineries should be able to plug this into their systems without much disruption," Wong said.

Maximizing gasoline is important as the world develops new sources of energy, he said. "There's a lot of talk about biofuels as a significant contributor in the future, but we need a bridge to get there. Our discovery could help by stretching current fuel-production capabilities."

Co-authors of the paper are Nikolaos Soultanidis, a Rice chemical engineering graduate student in Wong's lab; Israel Wachs, Wu Zhou and Christopher Kiely of Lehigh University; Antonis Psarras and Eleni Iliopoulou of the Centre for Research and Technology Hellas; and Alejandro Gonzalez of the DCG Partnership, Pearland, Texas.

The National Science Foundation's Nanoscale Interdisciplinary Research Team Program supported the project, with additional support from SABIC Americas and 3M.



####

For more information, please click here

Copyright © Rice University

If you have a comment, please Contact us.

Issuers of news releases, not 7th Wave, Inc. or Nanotechnology Now, are solely responsible for the accuracy of the content.

Bookmark:
Delicious Digg Newsvine Google Yahoo Reddit Magnoliacom Furl Facebook

Related News Press

News and information

SEFCU, SUNY Poly CNSE Announce Winning Student-Led Teams in the 6th Annual $500,000 New York Business Plan Competition April 25th, 2015

Northwestern scientists develop first liquid nanolaser: Technology could lead to new way of doing 'lab on a chip' medical diagnostics April 25th, 2015

Nanotech-enabled moisturizer speeds healing of diabetic skin wounds: Spherical nucleic acids silence gene that interferes with wound healing April 24th, 2015

Fast and accurate 3-D imaging technique to track optically trapped particles April 24th, 2015

Chemistry

Scientists Use Nanoscale Building Blocks and DNA 'Glue' to Shape 3D Superlattices: New approach to designing ordered composite materials for possible energy applications April 23rd, 2015

New class of 3D-printed aerogels improve energy storage April 22nd, 2015

Expanding the reach of metallic glass April 22nd, 2015

Protein Building Blocks for Nanosystems: Scientists develop method for producing bio-based materials with new properties April 17th, 2015

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

SEFCU, SUNY Poly CNSE Announce Winning Student-Led Teams in the 6th Annual $500,000 New York Business Plan Competition April 25th, 2015

Northwestern scientists develop first liquid nanolaser: Technology could lead to new way of doing 'lab on a chip' medical diagnostics April 25th, 2015

ORNL reports method that takes quantum sensing to new level April 23rd, 2015

Electron spin brings order to high entropy alloys April 23rd, 2015

Possible Futures

Printing Silicon on Paper, with Lasers April 21st, 2015

A glass fiber that brings light to a standstill: By coupling photons to atoms, light in a glass fiber can be slowed down to the speed of an express train; for a short while it can even be brought to a complete stop April 9th, 2015

Nanotechnology in Medical Devices Market is expected to reach $8.5 Billion by 2019 March 25th, 2015

Nanotechnology Enabled Drug Delivery to Influence Future Diagnosis and Treatments of Diseases March 21st, 2015

Academic/Education

SEFCU, SUNY Poly CNSE Announce Winning Student-Led Teams in the 6th Annual $500,000 New York Business Plan Competition April 25th, 2015

Iranian Female Professor Awarded UNESCO Medal in Nanoscience April 20th, 2015

JPK reports on the use of the NanoWizardŽ 3 AFM system at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem April 14th, 2015

UK National Graphene Institute Selects Bruker as Official Partner: World-Leading Graphene Research Facility Purchases Multiple Bruker AFMs April 7th, 2015

Announcements

SEFCU, SUNY Poly CNSE Announce Winning Student-Led Teams in the 6th Annual $500,000 New York Business Plan Competition April 25th, 2015

Northwestern scientists develop first liquid nanolaser: Technology could lead to new way of doing 'lab on a chip' medical diagnostics April 25th, 2015

Nanotech-enabled moisturizer speeds healing of diabetic skin wounds: Spherical nucleic acids silence gene that interferes with wound healing April 24th, 2015

Fast and accurate 3-D imaging technique to track optically trapped particles April 24th, 2015

Environment

Nanoparticles Used to Improve Mechanical, Thermal Properties of Cellulose Fibers April 23rd, 2015

Young NTU Singapore spin-off clinches S$4.3 million joint venture with Chinese commercial giant March 23rd, 2015

New processing technology converts packing peanuts to battery components March 22nd, 2015

EU Funded PCATDES Project has completed its half-period with success March 19th, 2015

Energy

Pseudoparticles travel through photoactive material: KIT scientists measure important process in the conversion of light energy -- publication in Nature Communications April 24th, 2015

Scientists Use Nanoscale Building Blocks and DNA 'Glue' to Shape 3D Superlattices: New approach to designing ordered composite materials for possible energy applications April 23rd, 2015

'Holey' graphene for energy storage: Charged holes in graphene increase energy storage capacity April 22nd, 2015

Expanding the reach of metallic glass April 22nd, 2015

Automotive/Transportation

Nanoparticles Used to Improve Mechanical, Thermal Properties of Cellulose Fibers April 23rd, 2015

'Holey' graphene for energy storage: Charged holes in graphene increase energy storage capacity April 22nd, 2015

Expanding the reach of metallic glass April 22nd, 2015

Nanocomposites Play Effective Role in Production of Smart Fibers April 18th, 2015

NanoNews-Digest
The latest news from around the world, FREE




  Premium Products
NanoNews-Custom
Only the news you want to read!
 Learn More
NanoTech-Transfer
University Technology Transfer & Patents
 Learn More
NanoStrategies
Full-service, expert consulting
 Learn More










ASP
Nanotechnology Now Featured Books




NNN

The Hunger Project