Photo-assisted methanol steam reforming on solid solution of Cu-Zn-Ti oxide

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering


Methanol steam reforming (MSR) is an attractive source of nearly-CO-free H2 for fuel cells. However the pre-reduction procedure in hydrogen for most of the developed oxide catalysts is costly both in time and energy. In this work, a photo-thermal hybrid system was used to achieve in situ activation of Cu-Zn-Ti oxide solid solution catalyst at low temperatures (200–210 °C) and a photo-promoted MSR process. Thanks to the synergetic effect of thermal and photon energies, the in situ activated Cu-Zn-Ti oxide exhibited optimal hydrogen evolution rates of 50.6 and 76.2 mmol/g/h and appreciable methanol conversions of 20% and 50% with zero selectivity to CO at 200 and 210 °C, respectively, which surpassed most of the reported Cu-based MSR systems. Furthermore, through a series of control experiments and in situ DRIFT study, the mechanism for the photo-assisted in situ activation and activity promotion was revealed. The findings in this work not only provide a new methodology for low-temperature in situ activation of Cu-based MSR catalysts but also could inspire the development of hybrid technologies for traditional systems.

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© 2019 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved. Publisher’s version of record:

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Chemical Engineering Journal