Effect of Metal–support Interactions in Ni/Al 2 O 3 Catalysts with Low Metal Loading for Methane Dry Reforming

Jessica L. Ewbank, Libor Kovarik, Fatoumata Z. Dialloa, Carsten Sievers, 2015

Image courtesy of Appl. Catal. A.

Abstract

Nickel catalysts prepared by a variety of different methods are commonly used for reforming reactions such as methane dry reforming. Two preparation methods, controlled adsorption and dry impregnation, are implemented to explore the effect of preparation method on the formation of active sites on alumina supported nickel catalysts. By varying only the preparation method, comparison of catalysts that differ primarily in metal–support interactions, strong metal–support interaction (controlled adsorption) and weak metal–support interactions (dry impregnation), are obtained. For controlled adsorption, optimal synthesis conditions are identified using point of zero charge measurements, pH-precipitation experiments, and adsorption isotherms. Using these conditions, a catalyst with a higher dispersion and strong metal–support interactions is prepared. Physicochemical characterization by N2 physisorption, H2chemisorption, temperature programmed reduction (TPR), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), and environmental TEM (ETEM) shows that the types of nickel sites formed strongly depend on the synthesis method. Methane dry reforming reactivity studies show stable catalytic performance for at least 9 h and provide additional insight into the types of active centers present. After reductive pretreatment, the nickel catalyst prepared by dry impregnation is found to primarily have nickel present as a surface NiAl2O4. In contrast, the active centers for the nickel catalyst prepared by controlled adsorption consist of nickel particles that are encapsulated by a nickel aluminate layer with 1–2 nm in thickness. Combustion analysis and XPS of spent catalysts reveal different amounts and nature of carbonaceous deposits as a function of the synthesis method.

Impact Statement

Nickel catalysts prepared by a variety of different methods are commonly used for reforming reactions such as methane dry reforming. Two preparation methods, controlled adsorption and dry impregnation, are implemented to explore the effect of preparation method on the formation of active sites on alumina supported nickel catalysts. By varying only the preparation method, comparison of catalysts that differ primarily in metal–support interactions, strong metal–support interaction (controlled adsorption) and weak metal–support interactions (dry impregnation), are obtained.