American Chemical Society
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Controlling Carbon Surface Chemistry by Alloying:  Carbon Tolerant Reforming Catalyst

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journal contribution
posted on 2006-09-06, 00:00 authored by Eranda Nikolla, Adam Holewinski, Johannes Schwank, Suljo Linic
Steam reforming is a process where a hydrocarbon is converted into hydrogen and oxygenated carbon species. Ni is often used as catalyst for the reaction. Long term stability of steam reforming catalysts is governed by their ability to selectively oxidize C atoms while preventing C−C bond formation. In this communication we demonstrate that C atom chemistry over Ni surfaces can be controlled by surface alloying. We show that bimetallic Sn/Ni catalyst is much more carbon-tolerant that monometallic Ni. The main reason for this is that Sn alloying results in dramatically lower rates of C−C bond formation as compared to C-oxidation. The bimetallic catalyst was identified in quantum computational studies of the underlying atomic-scale phenomena that govern C atom surface chemistry. The catalysts were also characterized with various electron- and X-ray-based microscopies and spectroscopies.