Studies of partial oxidation and combustion over heterogeneous catalysis by transient experiments

Research output: ThesisDoctoral Thesis (compilation)


Transient experiments are one of many techniques available to study heterogeneous catalysis and the catalysts used. The results obtained by transient experiments contain valuable information that is helpful in explaining reaction mechanism and interaction at the catalytic surface. The work that was performed covers areas that reach from the selective (ammoxidation) and complete oxidation of propane, over simulation of step- and pulse-transients to the total combustion of methanol at low temperatures.

The results that were obtained for the ammoxidation of propane on an Al-Sb-V-W-oxide catalyst show that adsorbed acrolein reacts with a short-lived NH<sub>x</sub>-species to give acrylonitrile. This NH<sub>x</sub>-species is probably a –NH<sub>2</sub> group and is also responsible for the formation of N<sub>2</sub>, N<sub>2</sub>O and NO. Lattice oxygen species (O<sup>2-</sup>) are involved in such reactions, as well as weakly adsorbed oxygen species (O<sup>-</sup>, O<sub>2</sub><sup>-</sup>). The weakly adsorbed oxygen species are responsible for the formation of degradation products from the NHx-species and the formation of carbon oxides (CO + CO<sub>2</sub>). It is suggested that limiting the amount of weakly adsorbed oxygen species at the catalyst surface can be achieved by using a high propane/oxygen ratio in the process feed coupled with propane recirculation.

Step- and pulse-transients were simulated using Matlab<sup>®</sup>. Comparison of the results obtained by both methods showed that the complexity of result evaluation favoured step-transients especially when considered in respect to the rate limiting step of a reaction. Step-transients give qualitative information about possible reaction mechanisms and rate limiting steps without the need for modelling. TAP pulse-transients on the other hand, have a high time resolution and make it possible to detect short-lived reaction intermediates. Therefore, TAP pulse-transients are valuable for the detection and identification of reaction intermediates, while step-transients are more valuable for the analysis of reaction mechanism in regard to the rate limiting step.

The promotion of the propane combustion over Pt/Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> by traces of SO<sub>2</sub> was studied at 200°C. From the results it is suggested that different reaction mechanisms operate in the absence and presence of SO<sub>2</sub> in the feed gas. When SO<sub>2</sub> is not present, the initial step for the combustion of propane is the abstraction of hydrogen and the formation of propene. If SO<sub>2</sub> is present in the feed gas, it becomes adsorbed on the catalyst surface and forms sulphate species the first step of the major pathway for the total oxidation of propane then involves the breaking of a C-C bond of propane instead of H-abstraction.

Platinum on Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub>, TiO<sub>2</sub> and MgO supports were used for the low temperature combustion of methanol in a waste gas with a trace of NH<sub>3</sub>. The results show that in the presence of NH<sub>3</sub> Pt/MgO is more superior for the combustion of methanol then Pt/Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> and Pt/TiO<sub>2</sub>. In the case of Pt/Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> and Pt/TiO<sub>2</sub>, it is seen that ammonia and methanol compete for the same adsorption sites. It is suggested that spillover of adsorbed species from the support surface to the platinum surface contribute to the reaction. Furthermore, the metal-support interaction plays an important role in the sensitivity of the catalysts towards deactivation.

Catalysts with 0.1, 1.0 and 3.0 wt% Pt supported on Al<sub>2</sub>O<sub>3</sub> were examined and characterised for the low temperature combustion of methanol in the absence and presence of NH<sub>3</sub>. The results indicate that the methanol combustion proceeds in the absence of NH<sub>3</sub> at sites that are mainly located at the metal-support interface. In the presence of NH<sub>3</sub> these sites are poisoned and the combustion proceeds at Pt surface sites.


  • Andreas Hinz
Research areas and keywords

Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY

  • Chemical Engineering


  • Catalytic combustion, Selective Oxidation, Sulphur dioxide, Ammonia, Methanol, Propane, Metal catalysts, Metal oxide catalysts, Transients, Simulation, Chemical technology and engineering, Kemiteknik och kemisk teknologi, Carbochemistry, petrochemistry, fuels and explosives technology, Petrokemi, bränslen, sprängämnen
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
Supervisors/Assistant supervisor
  • [unknown], [unknown], Supervisor, External person
Award date2001 Oct 22
  • Secretary, Dept. of Chem. Eng. II, P.O. Box 124, SE-22100 Lund,
Publication statusPublished - 2001
Publication categoryResearch

Bibliographic note

Defence details Date: 2001-10-22 Time: 10:15 Place: Auditorium B, Chemical Center External reviewer(s) Name: Falconer, John L. Title: Prof Dr. Affiliation: University of Colorado, Boulder, Colorado, USA ---