Nanotechnology Now

Our NanoNews Digest Sponsors

Heifer International

Wikipedia Affiliate Button

Home > Press > Scientists build 'nanobowls' to protect catalysts needed for better biofuel production

Abstract:
It may sound like a post-season football game for very tiny players, but the "nanobowl" has nothing to do with sports and everything to do with improving the way biofuels are produced. That's the hope of a team of scientists from the Institute for Atom Efficient Chemical Transformations (IACT), an Energy Frontier Research Center led by Argonne National Laboratory (ANL), and including Northwestern University, the University of Wisconsin and Purdue University. The team is using a layering technique developed for microchip manufacturing to build nanoscale (billionth of a meter) "bowls" that protect miniature metal catalysts from the harsh conditions of biofuel refining. Furthermore, the size, shape, and composition of the nanobowls can easily be tailored to enhance their functionality and specificity.

Scientists build 'nanobowls' to protect catalysts needed for better biofuel production

College Park, MD | Posted on October 28th, 2012

The team, led by Jeffrey Elam, principal chemist in ANL's Energy Systems Division, will present its research during the AVS 59th International Symposium and Exhibition, held Oct. 28-Nov. 2, 2012, in Tampa, Fla.

In recent years, nanoparticles of metals such as platinum, iridium and palladium supported on metal oxide surfaces have been considered as catalysts to convert biomass - organic matter from plants such as corn, sugarcane and sorghum - into alternative fuels as efficiently as possible. Unfortunately, under typical biorefining conditions where liquid water may reach temperatures of 200 degrees Celsius (392 degrees Fahrenheit) and pressures of 4,100 kilopascals (600 pounds per square inch), the tiny metal nanoparticles can agglomerate into much larger particles which are not catalytically active. Additionally, these extreme conditions can dissolve the support.

"We needed a method to protect the catalysts without reducing their ability to function as desired during biorefining," Elam says. "Our solution was to use atomic layer deposition [ALD], a process commonly employed by the semiconductor industry to lay down single-atom thick layers of material, to build a 'nanobowl' around the metal particle."

To create a matrix of nanobowls containing active catalysts, the researchers first use ALD to deposit millions of metal nanoparticles (the eventual nanocatalysts) onto a support surface. The next step is to add an organic species that will only bind to the metal nanoparticles and not to the support. This organic "protecting group" serves as the mold around which the nanobowls are shaped.

"Again using ALD, we deposit layer upon layer of an inorganic material known as niobia [niobium pentoxide] around the protecting group to define the shape of the nanobowls in our matrix," Elam says. "Once the desired niobia thickness is reached, we remove the protecting groups and leave our metal nanoparticles sheltered in nanobowls that prevent them from agglomerating. In addition, the niobia coating protects the substrate from the extreme conditions encountered during biorefining."

Elam says that the nanobowls themselves can be made to enhance the overall functionality of the catalyst matrix being produced. "At a specific height, we can put down ALD layers of catalytically active material into the nanobowl walls and create a co-catalyst that will work in tandem with the nanocatalysts. Also, by carefully selecting the organic protecting group, we can tune the size and shape of the nanobowl cavities to target specific molecules in the biomass mixture."

Elam and his colleagues have shown in the laboratory that the nanobowl/nanoparticle combination can survive the high-pressure, high-temperature aqueous environment of biomass refining. They also have demonstrated size and shape selectivity for the nanobowl catalysts. The next goal, he says, is to precisely measure how well the catalysts perform in an actual biomass refining process.

MORE INFORMATION ABOUT THE AVS 59th INTERNATIONAL SYMPOSIUM & EXHIBITION

The Tampa Convention Center is located along the Riverwalk in the heart of downtown Tampa at 333 S. Franklin St., Tampa, Florida, 33602.

ABOUT AVS

Founded in 1953, AVS is a not-for-profit professional society that promotes communication between academia, government laboratories, and industry for the purpose of sharing research and development findings over a broad range of technologically relevant topics. Its symposia and journals provide an important forum for the dissemination of information in many areas of science and technology, enabling a critical gateway for the rapid insertion of scientific breakthroughs into manufacturing realities.

####

For more information, please click here

Contacts:
Catherine Meyers

301-209-3088

Copyright © American Institute of Physics (AIP)

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 Links

Main meeting website:

Technical Program:

Housing and Travel Information:

Related News Press

Laboratories

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Chemistry on the edge: Experiments at Berkeley Lab confirm that structural defects at the periphery are key in catalyst function January 13th, 2017

Recreating conditions inside stars with compact lasers: Scientists offer a new path to creating the extreme conditions found in stars, using ultra-short laser pulses irradiating nanowires January 12th, 2017

NIST physicists 'squeeze' light to cool microscopic drum below quantum limit January 12th, 2017

News and information

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Manchester scientists tie the tightest knot ever achieved January 13th, 2017

Chemistry

Chemistry on the edge: Experiments at Berkeley Lab confirm that structural defects at the periphery are key in catalyst function January 13th, 2017

Govt.-Legislation/Regulation/Funding/Policy

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Chemistry on the edge: Experiments at Berkeley Lab confirm that structural defects at the periphery are key in catalyst function January 13th, 2017

Recreating conditions inside stars with compact lasers: Scientists offer a new path to creating the extreme conditions found in stars, using ultra-short laser pulses irradiating nanowires January 12th, 2017

New laser based on unusual physics phenomenon could improve telecommunications, computing January 12th, 2017

Discoveries

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

Announcements

Nanoscale view of energy storage January 16th, 2017

Seeing the quantum future... literally: What if big data could help you see the future and prevent your mobile phone from breaking before it happened? January 16th, 2017

NUS researchers achieve major breakthrough in flexible electronics: New classes of printable electrically conducting polymer materials make better electrodes for plastic electronics and advanced semiconductor devices January 14th, 2017

Nanoscale Modifications can be used to Engineer Electrical Contacts for Nanodevices January 13th, 2017

Energy

Stability challenge in perovskite solar cell technology: New research reveals intrinsic instability issues of iodine-containing perovskite solar cells December 26th, 2016

Nanoscale 'conversations' create complex, multi-layered structures: New technique leverages controlled interactions across surfaces to create self-assembled materials with unprecedented complexity December 22nd, 2016

Safe and inexpensive hydrogen production as a future energy source: Osaka University researchers develop efficient 'green' hydrogen production system that operates at room temperature in air December 21st, 2016

Going green with nanotechnology December 21st, 2016

Events/Classes

Harris & Harris Group Issues Reminder for Shareholder Update Call on January 10, 2017 January 10th, 2017

Nanometrics to Present at the 19th Annual Needham Growth Conference December 22nd, 2016

Leti Will Demonstrate Fusion of Autonomous Car’s Senses: SIGMA FUSION’s Efficient, Sensor-based System Fits in a Microcontroller Platform, Anticipates Safety Requirements December 13th, 2016

Imec and Holst Centre Introduce World’s First Solid-State Multi-Ion Sensor for Internet-of-Things Applications December 13th, 2016

Research partnerships

Chemistry on the edge: Experiments at Berkeley Lab confirm that structural defects at the periphery are key in catalyst function January 13th, 2017

Recreating conditions inside stars with compact lasers: Scientists offer a new path to creating the extreme conditions found in stars, using ultra-short laser pulses irradiating nanowires January 12th, 2017

Zeroing in on the true nature of fluids within nanocapillaries: While exploring the behavior of fluids at the nanoscale, a group of researchers at the French National Center for Scientific Research discovered a peculiar state of fluid mixtures contained in microscopic channels January 11th, 2017

New active filaments mimic biology to transport nano-cargo: A new design for a fully biocompatible motility engine transports colloidal particles faster than diffusion with active filaments January 11th, 2017

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