Stabilised Bimetallic Metal Nanoparticles in Tailor-made Carbon Nanoreactors as Catalysts for Continuous-Flow Biomass Valorisation with Supercritical Fluids
Dr. R. A. Bourne,a Dr. T. W. Chamberlain,a,b Dr. U. Hintermair,c & Dr. C. D. Smithd
aSchool of Process, Environmental and Mechanical Engineering, University of Leeds, bSchool of Chemistry, University of Nottingham, cCentre for Sustainable Chemical Technologies, University of Bath, dSchool of Chemistry, University of Reading
Carbon nanoreactor catalysts represent an exciting opportunity for the development of low cost, sustainable and high through put catalysts. The unique properties of these materials, both in terms of shape and behaviour, drastically effect the chemical reactions which they catalyse. Fe, Ni and Ru catalysts along with copper chromite bimetallic catalysts have been fabricated and microscopy reveals small particles of the specific metal/metals embedded in the carbon support in each case. The shape of the catalyst and the crucial role it plays in controlling on the outcome of reactions was investigated using simple and competitive hydrogenation reactions. In addition the materials were immobilised in a tube reactor allowing reagents to be flowed through the catalyst and optimal reaction conditions to be determined. Our study represents the essential fundamental method development required to combine the enhanced stability and activity exhibited by metal nanoparticle‑carbon nanotube catalysts with the high process efficiency of flow reactors. A crucial step if these materials are to find application in high through put industrial processes such as the conversion of biomass-derived feedstocks into high-value chemicals.
(left to right) Dr Ulrich Hintermair, Dr Richard Bourne and Dr Thomas Chamberlain pictured during a visit to the University of Bath to explore using carbon nanoreactor catalysts for hydrogenation reactions using high pressure carbon dioxide as a solvent.