Methane activation via bromination over sulfated Zirconia/SBA-15 catalysts

Değirmenci, Volkan
Methane activation with bromine followed by the condensation of the methyl bromide into higher hydrocarbons or oxygenates is a novel route. However, the selective production of monobrominated methane (CH3Br) at high conversions is a crucial prerequisite. A reaction model was developed according to the kinetic data available in the literature and thoroughly studied to investigate the optimum reactor conditions for selective methane bromination in gas phase. It was concluded that at high methane (>90%) conversions dibromomethane synthesis was favored at high selectivity (~90%) under the following conditions: T=330 °C, Br:CH4 = 3. Sulfated zirconia included SBA-15 catalysts were prepared and characterized for the catalytic methane activation via bromination. The SBA-15 sol-gel preparation technique was followed and the zirconium was added during the preparation in the form of ZrOCl2·8H2O with 5-30 mol % ZrO2 with respect to the SiO2 content simultaneously with the silicon source (TEOS). The catalysts were sulfated in 0.25 M H2SO4 solution. The zirconium contents of the catalysts were determined by elemental analysis and 15 wt. % Zr was determined as the highest amount. XRD analysis showed the crystalline zirconia peaks only for high zirconia loadings (>25 mol % ZrO2) indicating the good distribution of Zr in silica framework at lower loadings. BET surface areas of the sulfated catalysts are in the range of 313-246 m2/g. The porous structures of the catalysts were determined by TEM pictures, which revealed that the increase in Zr content decreased the long range order of pore structure of SBA-15 in agreement with XRD results. The acidities of the catalysts were determined by 1H MAS NMR experiments. Brønsted acidity was identified by a sharp 1H MAS NMR line at 10.6 ppm. The highest acidity was observed at 5.2 wt. % Zr loading according to 1H MAS NMR experiments. 29Si MAS NMR analysis showed the formation of Si-O-X linkages (X=H, Zr). Further characterization of Brønsted acidity was performed by FT-IR spectroscopy of adsorbed CO at 82 K. The analysis revealed that the Brønsted acidity of sulfated catalysts were similar to the acid strength of the conventional sulfated zirconia. In TPD experiments, the basic molecule isopropylamine (IPAm) was adsorbed and decomposition temperature of IPAm was monitored. The temperature decreased from 340 °C to 310 °C in sulfated catalysts, indicating the acidic character of these samples. Catalytic methane bromination reaction tests were performed in a quartz tubular reactor. The results showed that 69% methane conversion was attainable over SZr(25)SBA-15 catalyst at 340 °C. The liquid 1H NMR measurements of the products revealed that >99% methyl bromide selectivity was achieved.


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Citation Formats
V. Değirmenci, “Methane activation via bromination over sulfated Zirconia/SBA-15 catalysts,” Ph.D. - Doctoral Program, Middle East Technical University, 2007.