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Al-doped Fe 2 O 3 as a support for molybdenum oxide methanol oxidation catalysts

DOI: 10.1039/D0CP01192D DOI Help

Authors: Michael Bowker (University of Cardiff; UK Catalysis Hub, Research Complex at Harwell) , Pip Hellier (University of Cardiff; UK Catalysis Hub, Research Complex at Harwell) , Donato Decarolis (University of Cardiff; UK Catalysis Hub, Research Complex at Harwell) , Diego Gianolio (Diamond Light Source) , Khaled M. H. Mohammed (University of Southampton; Sohag University) , Alex Stenner (University of Southampton) , Thomas Huthwelker (Paul Scherrer Institut) , Peter P. Wells (UK Catalysis Hub, Research Complex at Harwell)
Co-authored by industrial partner: No

Type: Journal Paper
Journal: Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics , VOL 128

State: Published (Approved)
Published: May 2020

Open Access Open Access

Abstract: We have made high surface area catalysts for the selective oxidation of methanol to formaldehyde. This is done in two ways – (i) by doping haematite with Al ions, to increase the surface area of the material, but which itself is unselective and (ii) by surface coating with Mo which induces high selectivity. Temperature programmed desorption (TPD) of methanol shows little difference in surface chemistry of the doped haematite from the undoped material, with the main products being CO2 and CO, but shifted to somewhat higher desorption temperature. However, when Mo is dosed onto the haematite surface, the chemistry changes completely to show mainly the selective product, formaldehyde, with no CO2 production, and this is little changed up to 10% Al loading. But at 15 wt% Al, the chemistry changes to indicate the presence of a strongly acidic function at the surface, with additional dimethyl ether and CO/CO2 production characteristic of the presence of alumina. Structurally, X-ray diffraction (XRD) shows little change over the range 0–20% Al doping, except for some small lattice contraction, while the surface area increases from around 20 to 100 m2 g−1. Using X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) it is clear that, at 5% loading, the Al is incorporated into the Fe2O3 corundum lattice, which has the same structure as α-alumina. By 10% loading then it appears that the alumina starts to nano-crystallise within the haematite lattice into the γ form. At higher loadings, there is evidence of phase separation into separate Al-doped haematite and γ-alumina. If we add 1 monolayer equivalent of Mo to the surface there is already high selectivity to formaldehyde, but little change in structure, because that monolayer is isolated at the surface. However, when three monolayers equivalent of Mo is added, we then see aluminium molybdate type signatures in the XANES spectra at 5% Al loading and above. These appear to be in a sub-surface layer with Fe molybdate, which we interpret as due to Al substitution into ferric molybdate layers immediately beneath the topmost surface layer of molybdena. It seems like the separate γ-alumina phase is not covered by molybdena and is responsible for the appearance of the acid function products in the TPD.

Subject Areas: Chemistry

Facility: Swiss Light Source (SLS)

Added On: 01/06/2020 13:56


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Physical Chemistry Catalysis Chemistry

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