Dr Jonathan Bartley Project Titles
1. Supported mixed metal oxide catalysts
Although virtually all metal catalysts are supported to increase the surface area, most oxide catalysts are used as bulk materials. This project will focus on the synthesis of nano-structured supported oxide and mixed oxide catalysts (containing Mo, Mn, V, Co, Nb, Ni, etc.) and to investigate their performance as oxidation catalysts. The state-of-the art equipment in the Cardiff Catalysis Institute will be used to characterize the materials
Figure 1 Transmission electron micrograph of Fe2(MoO4)3/MoO3
The methodology for preparing mixed metal oxide catalysts has changed little over the last 60 years. Typically metal nitrate solutions are co-precipitated using a base to yield precursors that are then calcined to form the oxide catalysts. Due to the crude preparation methodology, catalysts prepared in this way comprise a complex mixture of mixed oxide and single oxide phases. This leads to a waste of the active metals which can be present either as inactive phases or as unselective phases which reduce the activity and selectivity of the final catalyst.
We have been exploring new methods for synthesizing metal oxides and mixed metal oxides for use as catalysts and supports that will give improved catalyst performance. One example of this is the synthesis of nano-structured iron molybdate materials consisting of Fe2(MoO4)3 islands supported on MoO3 nano-rods (Figure 1). These materials were bench-marked against a co-precipitated iron molybdate catalyst and were found to have a significantly improved performance for the selective oxidation of methanol to formaldehyde.