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Title: Development of novel structured catalysts and testing for dehydrogenation of methylcyclohexane
Author: Rallan, Chandni
ISNI:       0000 0004 5364 0159
Awarding Body: University of Manchester
Current Institution: University of Manchester
Date of Award: 2014
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Hydrogen storage for stationary and mobile applications is an expanding research topic. Using liquid organic hydrides for hydrogen storage is one of the most promising alternatives as it provides simple and safe handling. Liquid organic hydrides are largely compatible with current transport infrastructure, whereas alternatives such as liquid and gaseous hydrogen and metal hydrides would require a completely new infrastructure. An attractive storage system is the so-called MTH system (Methylcyclohexane, Toluene and Hydrogen). The dehydrogenation of methylcyclohexane is a highly endothermic reaction. To improve the reaction kinetics, this research was to develop a structured catalyst with a conductive metal support (Fecralloy) which could hold an adherent catalytic washcoat (γ - Al2O3). The active phase was impregnated onto this support and the developed catalyst was tested for the dehydrogenation of methylcyclohexane. The catalyst preparation involved three key steps which were support oxidation, loading of an adherent washcoat and finally impregnation of the active phase. The oxidation and washcoat stages required significant optimisation. The optimum oxidation conditions were found to be 950 °C for 10 h. The washcoating procedure was optimised by modifying a one-step hybrid washcoating method suggested in patent literature. Characterization techniques including SEM, XRD and EDX were used to study each step of catalyst preparation. In addition the technique of STEM was used to study platinum dispersion on the catalytic washcoat. Finally the catalytic activity of the developed catalyst was compared with an in-house pelleted catalyst based on the material used to prepare the structured catalyst and commercially available platinum on γ - Al2O3. Three key factors: activity, selectivity and stability were evaluated. The activity and selectivity were studied at varied operating conditions of T = 340 °C - 400 °C, W/F = 7345 - 14690 g s/mol, H2/MCH molar ratio = 0 - 9 and P = 1.013 bar. The dehydrogenation reaction of methylcyclohexane was found to be very selective to toluene (above 99%). Compounds, which are considered coke precursors, were identified, to attempt to explain the mechanism of catalyst deactivation. By-product distribution was monitored and possible reaction pathways were postulated. To gauge the stability of the catalyst, long term life tests were also performed on the structured catalyst at 400 °C and W/F = 14690 g s/mol for approximately 400 h. The stability study investigated the different types of deactivation mechanisms. The catalyst evaluation study helped identify the effect of the alloy support, the alumina washcoat and platinum dispersion on the selectivity of the catalyst.
Supervisor: Garforth, Arthur Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: fecralloy ; gamma alumina ; methylcyclohexane ; dehydrogenation ; structured catalyst