Promoted cobalt metal catalysts suitable for the production of lower olefins from natural gas.


Inorganic Chemistry and Catalysis, Debye Institute for Nanomaterial Science, Utrecht University, Universiteitsweg 99, 3584 CG, Utrecht, The Netherlands. [Email]


Due to the surge of natural gas production, feedstocks for chemicals shift towards lighter hydrocarbons, particularly methane. The success of a Gas-to-Chemicals process via synthesis gas (CO and H2) depends on the ability of catalysts to suppress methane and carbon dioxide formation. We designed a Co/Mn/Na/S catalyst, which gives rise to negligible Water-Gas-Shift activity and a hydrocarbon product spectrum deviating from the Anderson-Schulz-Flory distribution. At 240 °C and 1 bar, it shows a C2-C4 olefins selectivity of 54%. At 10 bar, it displays 30% and 59% selectivities towards lower olefins and fuels, respectively. The spent catalyst consists of 10 nm Co nanoparticles with hcp Co metal phase. We propose a synergistic effect of Na plus S, which act as electronic promoters on the Co surface, thus improving selectivities towards lower olefins and fuels while largely reducing methane and carbon dioxide formation.