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Steam reforming of ethanol for hydrogen production using Cu-MCM41 and Ni-MCM41 type mesoporous catalytic materials

Özdoğan, Ekin
The world’s being alerted to the global warming danger and the depletion of fossil fuel resources, has increased the importance of the clean and renewable hydrogen energy. Bioethanol has high potential to be used as a resource of hydrogen since it is a non-petroleum feedstock and it is able to produce hydrogen rich mixture by steam reforming reactions. Discovery of mesoporous MCM-41 type high surface area silicate-structured materials with narrow pore size distributions (20-100 Å) and high surface areas (up to 1500 m2/g) opened a new avenue in catalysis research. Catalytic activity of such mesoporous materials are enhanced by the incorporation of active metals or metal oxides into their structure. Nickel and copper are among the most active metals to be used in steam reforming of ethanol to produce hydrogen. In this study, copper and nickel incorporated MCM-41 type catalytic materials were tested in the steam reforming of ethanol. Two Ni-MCM-41 samples having different Ni/Si ratios were prepared by high temperature direct synthesis method and two Cu-MCM-41 samples having same Cu/Si ratios were synthesized by two different methods namely, high temperature direct synthesis method and impregnation method. The synthesized materials characterized by XRD, EDS, SEM, N2 physisorption and TPR techniques. XRD results showed that Ni-MCM-41 and Cu-MCM-41 catalysts had typical MCM-41 structure. The d100 and lattice parameter values of Ni-HT (I) (Ni-MCM-41 sample having 0.036 Ni/Si atomic ratio) was obtained as 3.96 and 4.57 nm., respectively. In addition Ni-HT (I) was found to have a surface area of 860.5 m2/g and 2.7 nm pore diameter. The d100 and lattice parameter values for a typical Cu-MCM-41 prepared by impregnation method having Cu/Si atomic ratio of 0.19 were obtained as 3.6 and 4.2 nm., respectively. This sample also has a 631 m2/g surface area and 2.5 nm pore diameter. Steam reforming of ethanol was investigated in the vapor phase by using Ni-MCM-41 and Cu-MCM-41 catalysts between 300°C and 550°C. Results proved that Ni incorporated MCM-41 type catalytic materials were highly active in hydrogen production by steam reforming of ethanol and actualized almost complete ethanol conversion for Ni-MCM-41 having Ni/Si atomic ratio of 0.15 over 500°C . The side products obtained during reforming are methane and formaldehyde. Although the Cu-MCM-41 samples were not as active as Ni-MCM-41, it was observed that Cu-MCM-41 catalyst synthesized by the impregnation method showed an ethanol conversion of 0.83. However, the main product was ethylene with the copper incorporated catalysts. Effects of space time, the operating conditions (reaction temperature), metal/Si ratio of the catalyst and the preparation method on the product distributions were also investigated and best reaction conditions were searched.