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New catalyst can create fuels from shale gas

Press Trust of India  |  London 

Scientists have developed a platinum and copper alloy catalyst that can convert in shale gas into fuels.

Platinum or nickel are known to break the carbon- bonds in found in to make fuels and other useful

However, this process causes 'coking' - the becomes coated with a carbon layer rendering it ineffective by blocking reactions from happening at the surface.

The new alloy catalyst developed by scientists at University College (UCL) in the and in the US is resistant to coking, so it retains its activity and requires less to break the bonds than other materials.

Currently, reforming processes are extremely intense, requiring temperatures of about 900 degrees Celsius.

This new material could lower this to 400 degrees Celsius, saving energy, researchers said.

The study, published in the journal Chemistry, demonstrates the benefits of the new highly diluted alloy of platinum in copper - a single atom alloy - in making useful from small hydrocarbons.

A combination of surface science and catalysis experiments and powerful computing techniques were used to investigate the performance of the alloy.

These showed that the platinum breaks the carbon- bonds, and the copper helps couple molecules of different sizes, paving the way towards conversion to fuels, researchers said.

"We used supercomputers to model how the reaction happens - the breaking and making of bonds in small molecules on the catalytic alloy surface, and also to predict its performance at large scales," said from UCL.

"For this, we needed access to hundreds of processors to simulate thousands of reaction events," Stamatakis said.

(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

First Published: Tue, January 09 2018. 16:10 IST