Center of Catalysis and Separation (CeCaS) scientific team recently co-authored/co-led a research paper in the prestigious journal Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, with an impact factor of 16.683 (Elsevier, Q1). The team is composed of G. Siakavelas (Visiting Scholar in CeCaS from University of Western Macedonia (UWM), Greece), Prof. M. Goula (UWM) and the KU PhD students Ayesha A. AlKhoori and Sara I. AlKhoori supervised by Prof. K. Polychronopoulou, Director of CeCaS.
The publication under the title “Highly selective and stable nickel catalysts supported on ceria promoted with Sm2O3, Pr2O3 and MgO for the CO2 methanation” came as a result of a fruitful collaboration with Prof. Maria Goula’s group from the UWM (CeCaS external partner). The doctoral student, G. Siakavelas, co-advised by both Prof.M. Goula and K. Polychronopoulou, kicked off this study while spending a visiting scholarship period in CeCaS research laboratories in 2018. During his stay he received training on the state-of-the-art synthesis and characterization methods by KU and CeCaS research staff and students. This study was further advanced from both sides, UWM and KU, after his departure from KU leading to a breakthrough on catalytic materials for the CO2 hydrogenation reaction.
In particular, this research explores the efficacy of the catalysts to convert the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2) into useful fuel, such as methane (Sabatier reaction) and highlights how the intrinsic properties of the catalysts can be tuned by using non-conventional methods of preparation and selected catalyst’s promoters. The significant role of this reaction can be understood based on the wide spectrum of methane applications; synthetic gas in the residential sector, raw material in different industries, and fuel for transportation. In addition, the CO2 to CH4 conversion is an important reaction for future manned space exploration to the red planet. The reaction is meant to utilize the Martian CO2-rich atmosphere to generate CH4 as propellant fuel and H2O as life support consumable. This research is ongoing and more exciting news are on the way.