A Highly Active Platinum Alloy Catalyst for the Hydrogen Oxidation Reaction at Elevated Temperatures Demonstrating Enhanced Immunity towards Acetylene Poisoning

Research Category: Physical and LIfe Sciences
Presenter: Manav Sharma
Additional Authors: Huong Doan, Ryan Pavlicek, Todd Miller
PI: Sanjeev Mukerjee

Plasma Pyrolysis Assembly (PPA), the life support technology for MARS mission, is a process of recovering oxygen from carbon dioxide.  Reduction of carbon dioxide (CO2) to methane and water (CO2 + 4H2 — > 2H2O + CH4 ) , done using Sabatier reaction, is followed by methane decomposition in a single pass configuration (2CH4 –> C2H2 + 3H2). However, back conversion of acetylene to methane poses a problem concerning the efficiency of the overall system.  Platinum is well regarded as the state-of-the-art catalyst for the Hydrogen Oxidation Reaction (HOR). However, the affinity of Platinum towards acetylene binding is a serious issue as it promotes the conversion of acetylene back to methane, often converting more than 40% of acetylene. At Northeastern University Center for Renewable Technology (NUCRET), we have successfully synthesized a Platinum-based alloy which shows promising results towards HOR, while being transparent towards acetylene binding. Furthermore, we have optimized the catalyst in terms of metal ratio as well as total metal content on the carbon (Vulcan) support to gain the best performance without compromising the durability of the system.