Methane decomposition : characterization of the carbon produced and possible use in direct carbon fuel cells

Salipira, Ketulo Lackson
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Investigations into methane conversion (both catalytic and non-catalytic) and characterization of the carbon produced for use in high efficiency DCFCs were performed. Under non-catalytic processes, a high methane conversion (> 80%) was achieved at 1200 oC at flow rates of between 10-60 ml/min. Analysis of the carbon using Raman spectroscopy showed that the carbon was highly disordered and the degree of disorder increased with increase in methane flow rate (from aD/aG = 1.54 at 10 ml to aD/aG = 2.24 at 60 ml/min). Further analysis of the carbon using thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) demonstrated that the carbon produced at higher flow rates e.g. 100 ml/min were easily oxidized (746 oC) compared with those produced at lower flow rates (10 ml/min, 846 oC). Therefore, a high temperature coupled with high flow rates (60-100 ml/min) produced carbon with desired qualities (high disorder, low crystallinity and more thermally reactive) for DCFC uses. In the catalytic decomposition of methane, Ni supported on TiO2 and a 1:1 mixture of TiO2/Al2O3 gave high and stable methane conversions of about 60% at only 600 oC compared to 1200 oC required for the non-catalytic conversion. These catalysts were found to be the best catalyst systems of the tested catalysts. Considering the thermal oxidation and crystallinity data which are some of the properties of the carbon required for direct carbon fuel cells (DCFCs), the carbon produced can potentially be used in DCFC systems.
Ph.D, Faculty of Science, University of the Witwatersrand, 2011
Methane, Decomposition (Chemistry), Catalysts, Chemistry, Physical and theoretical