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Model Catalytic Studies of Liquid Organic Hydrogen Carriers: Dehydrogenation and Decomposition Mechanisms of Dodecahydro‑N‑ethylcarbazole on Pt(111)

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journal contribution
posted on 17.12.2015 by Max Amende, Christoph Gleichweit, Kristin Werner, Stefan Schernich, Wei Zhao, Michael P. A. Lorenz, Oliver Höfert, Christian Papp, Marcus Koch, Peter Wasserscheid, Mathias Laurin, Hans-Peter Steinrück, Jörg Libuda
Liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHC) are compounds that enable chemical energy storage through reversible hydrogenation. They are considered a promising technology to decouple energy production and consumption by combining high-energy densities with easy handling. A prominent LOHC is N-ethylcarbazole (NEC), which is reversibly hydrogenated to dodecahydro-N-ethylcarbazole (H12-NEC). We studied the reaction of H12-NEC on Pt(111) under ultrahigh vacuum (UHV) conditions by applying infrared reflection–absorption spectroscopy, synchrotron radiation-based high resolution X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, and temperature-programmed molecular beam methods. We show that molecular adsorption of H12-NEC on Pt(111) occurs at temperatures between 173 and 223 K, followed by initial C–H bond activation in direct proximity to the N atom. As the first stable dehydrogenation product, we identify octahydro-N-ethylcarbazole (H8-NEC). Dehydrogenation to H8-NEC occurs slowly between 223 and 273 K and much faster above 273 K. Stepwise dehydrogenation to NEC proceeds while heating to 380 K. An undesired side reaction, C–N bond scission, was observed above 390 K. H8-NEC and H8-carbazole are the dominant products desorbing from the surface. Desorption occurs at higher temperatures than H8-NEC formation. We show that desorption and dehydrogenation activity are directly linked to the number of adsorption sites being blocked by reaction intermediates.

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