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Title: Synthesis and Characterization of Molybdenum Carbide Catalytic nanoparticles for the Hydrogenation of Toluene
Author: Guzman Gomez, Hector Jose
Advisor: Pereira-Almao, Pedro
Keywords: Chemistry--Inorganic
Issue Date: 23-Apr-2014
Abstract: Current key sources to maintain a world supply of energy are heavy crude oils and bitumen. However, these unconventional oils require significant upgrading before entering refineries. A plausible efficient way to upgrade these heavy oils is developing catalysts in the nanometric range with the capability of effectively dispersing throughout the reaction media to encounter the macromolecules present in these crude oils and convert them with less energy input. In this research, a range of methodologies to form Mo2C nanoparticles were explored, with particular attention to the identification of low energy path intermediates. The synthesis of a molybdenum precursor (MoO3) in nano sizes was studied, and its conversion into active phase was achieved by the use of water soluble capping agents, such as Starch and Poly ethylene glycol (PEG), which acted as carbon sources. MoO2 was identified as an intermediate and its conversion into Mo2C was proven to occur through a path kinetically controlled at low temperatures (300-400 ºC). Nanoparticles of Mo2C and Mo oxides synthesized were fully characterized in a collaborative undertaking with the Brookhaven National Laboratory in USA. The catalytic activity of these carbonaceous polymer-derived solids was assessed in the hydrogenation of toluene. Reactions were carried out between 120-200 ºC and 70-80 psi of pressure. The activation energy for these catalysts was determined to be 44 kJ/mol. This value is in agreement with the reported activation energies for noble metals (Pt, Pd) for the same type of hydrogenation reaction. The nanoparticles synthesis path of this thesis appears to be the lowest energy original synthesis for this type of catalyst in comparison to the methodologies found in the open literature.
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