American Chemical Society
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Substituting Chromium in Iron-Based Catalysts for the High-Temperature Water–Gas Shift Reaction

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journal contribution
posted on 2022-10-27, 12:36 authored by M. I. Ariëns, L.G.A. van de Water, A. I. Dugulan, E. Brück, E.J.M. Hensen
A set of doped iron oxides (chromium, aluminum, gallium, indium, manganese, zinc, niobium) were prepared by a one-step coprecipitation/calcination approach evaluated for their WGS activity under industrially relevant conditions and characterized in detail. The WGS activity after ageing the doped catalyst for 4 days at 25 bar follows the order chromium ≈ aluminum > gallium > indium > manganese > zinc > niobium for copper-codoped catalysts. The activated catalysts predominantly consist of magnetite, irrespective of the dopant. Mössbauer spectra of aged catalysts showed that aluminum and zinc occupy both tetrahedral and octahedral sites of magnetite, while chromium, gallium, indium, manganese, and niobium preferentially substitute octahedral iron. The incorporation of trivalent metal ions of similar size to octahedral Fe3+ (i.e., chromium, aluminum, gallium) results in moderate to high CO conversion, irrespective of incorporation in tetrahedral or octahedral sites. The substitution of Fe2+ with Mn2+ results in an increased Fe3+/Fe2+ ratio. Incorporation of Zn2+ in tetrahedral sites (replacing Fe3+ ions) leads to a complex structure where the charge balance is compensated from the octahedral sites. Separate dopant metal oxide phases were observed in indium- and niobium-doped catalysts. XPS shows that copper is present as a separate phase in activated copper-codoped catalysts. Aluminum is identified as the most promising promoter for substituting chromium in commercial high-temperature WGS catalysts on the basis of their similar high CO conversion although incorporation of these dopants into the magnetite structure differed substantially.