Operando Raman spectroscopy on CO2 methanation over alumina-supported Ni, Ni3Fe and NiRh0.1 catalysts: Role of carbon formation as possible deactivation pathway

Mutz, B. and Sprenger, P. and Wang, W. and Wang, D. and Kleist, W. and Grunwaldt, J.-D.

Volume: 556 Pages: 160-171
DOI: 10.1016/j.apcata.2018.01.026
Published: 2018

The methanation of CO2, as a part of the power-to-gas concept, was studied under various industrially relevant feed compositions with a focus on the formation and influence of carbonaceous species. For this purpose, 5 wt.% Ni/Al2O3, 5 wt.% Ni3Fe/Al2O3 and 3.4 wt.% NiRh0.1/Al2O3 catalysts were prepared and characterized by X-ray diffraction (XRD), temperature-programmed reduction (TPR), scanning transmission electron microscopy (STEM) combined with energy-dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDX) and electron energy loss spectroscopy (EELS). During the methanation of CO2, the Ni3Fe catalyst emerged as the most active and selective catalyst in the mid-temperature regime (300–350 °C). At 400 °C, all three tested catalysts showed high conversion of CO2 (67–75%; Ni > Ni3Fe > NiRh0.1) and selectivity towards CH4 (95–98%). Operando Raman spectroscopy was applied to elucidate the possible influence of carbonaceous species on the performance of the catalysts. Notably, no carbon deposition was observed under various feed compositions, even in CO2 or CO2/CH4 mixtures, e.g. as provided by biogas plants. Only in pure CH4 atmosphere an intensive carbon deposition with graphitic structure occurred as uncovered by operando Raman spectroscopy. Experiments in the lab-scale reactor and a spectroscopic microreactor could be correlated and revealed a strong catalytic deactivation of the carbon covered catalysts including a pronounced shift of the selectivity towards CO. The initial activity could be recovered after reactivation in H2 at elevated temperatures, which led to a removal of the deposits especially from the metal particles. Raman spectroscopy, supported by the results from high-resolution transmission electron microscopy (HRTEM) and EELS, revealed that carbon remained on the support material. The latter did not have any significant influence on the catalytic activity and could be removed in an oxidizing atmosphere. © 2018

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