Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

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

Scientists take key step toward custom-made nanoscale chemical factories: Berkeley Lab researchers part of team that creates new function in tiny protein shell structures February 6th, 2016

Discovery of the specific properties of graphite-based carbon materials February 6th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Chemistry

Scientists take key step toward custom-made nanoscale chemical factories: Berkeley Lab researchers part of team that creates new function in tiny protein shell structures February 6th, 2016

Discovery of the specific properties of graphite-based carbon materials February 6th, 2016

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Scientists take key step toward custom-made nanoscale chemical factories: Berkeley Lab researchers part of team that creates new function in tiny protein shell structures February 6th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Researchers discover new phase of boron nitride and a new way to create pure c-BN February 5th, 2016

Scientists guide gold nanoparticles to form 'diamond' superlattices: DNA scaffolds cage and coax nanoparticles into position to form crystalline arrangements that mimic the atomic structure of diamond February 4th, 2016

Possible Futures

Scientists take key step toward custom-made nanoscale chemical factories: Berkeley Lab researchers part of team that creates new function in tiny protein shell structures February 6th, 2016

Discovery of the specific properties of graphite-based carbon materials February 6th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Scientists guide gold nanoparticles to form 'diamond' superlattices: DNA scaffolds cage and coax nanoparticles into position to form crystalline arrangements that mimic the atomic structure of diamond February 4th, 2016

Academic/Education

COD Grad Begins Postdoctoral Fellow at Harvard University: Marsela Jorgolli's Passion for Physics Has Led to a Decade of Academic Research That Continues at Harvard University as a Postdoctoral Fellow February 2nd, 2016

Heriot-Watt's Institute of Photonics & Quantum Sciences uses the Deben Microtest 2 kN tensile stage to characterise ceramics and engineering plastics January 21st, 2016

Multiple uses for the JPK NanoWizard AFM system in the Smart Interfaces in Environmental Nanotechnology Group at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign January 20th, 2016

BioSolar Extends Research Agreement With UCSB for Next Phase of Its Super Battery Technology: Development Effort to Continue Under the Supervision of Nobel Laureate, Dr. Alan Heeger January 13th, 2016

Announcements

Scientists take key step toward custom-made nanoscale chemical factories: Berkeley Lab researchers part of team that creates new function in tiny protein shell structures February 6th, 2016

Discovery of the specific properties of graphite-based carbon materials February 6th, 2016

Study reveals how herpes virus tricks the immune system February 5th, 2016

Hepatitis virus-like particles as potential cancer treatment February 5th, 2016

Environment

Scientists have put a high precision blood assay into a simple test strip: Researchers have developed a new biosensor test system based on magnetic nanoparticles February 3rd, 2016

Herbal Extracts Applied to Synthesize Titanium Dioxide Nanoparticles January 28th, 2016

FLEXcon shares insights on developments and safety guidelines in nanotechnology: FLEXcon hosted New England Nanotechnology Association event, discussing latest industry activities and innovations January 25th, 2016

Highly efficient heavy metal ions filter January 25th, 2016

Energy

February 4th, 2016

Putting silicon 'sawdust' in a graphene cage boosts battery performance: Approach could remove major obstacles to increasing the capacity of lithium-ion batteries January 30th, 2016

Simplifying solar cells with a new mix of materials: Berkeley Lab-led research team creates a high-efficiency device in 7 steps January 29th, 2016

Scientists provide new guideline for synthesis of fullerene electron acceptors January 28th, 2016

Automotive/Transportation

Researchers develop completely new kind of polymer: Hybrid polymers could lead to new concepts in self-repairing materials, drug delivery and artificial muscles January 30th, 2016

An alternative to platinum: Iron-nitrogen compounds as catalysts in graphene January 28th, 2016

LC.300 Series Nanopositioning Controller from nPoint January 28th, 2016

Vesper Collaborates with GLOBALFOUNDRIES to Deliver First Piezoelectric MEMS Microphones: Acoustic sensing company works with top foundry to support mass-market consumer products January 21st, 2016

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







Car Brands
Buy website traffic