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(617dm) Modification of Molybdenum Phosphide Catalyst Surface with Fischer-Tropsch and Alkali Metals for the Production of Alcohols from Syngas

Valle, E., Stanford University
Duyar, M. S., Stanford University
Kibsgaard, J., Stanford University
Jaramillo, T. F., Stanford University
Ethanol today is used as a high value fuel blend, over 95% of the gasoline in the United States contains at least 10% ethanol according to the Alternative Fuels Data Center. Currently there are two predominant methods of producing ethanol, fermentation of sugars from corn and sugar cane and through hydration of petroleum-based ethylene. Both methods are expensive and consume large amounts of energy but there is no viable alternative at the moment. A possible solution to this problem could be using transition metals doped with promoters as catalyst to hydrogenate syngas and convert it into higher alcohols such as ethanol. Syngas can be readily obtained through the gasification of biomass, coal and natural gas. I am studying a Molybdenum phosphide system and how the modification of its surface with Fischer-Tropsch metals and alkali metals will influence the activity and selectivity of the catalyst towards the production of alcohols from syngas. Various catalyst synthesis methods are being investigated as different methods produce different metal phases on the surface of the catalyst. Thus far Molybdenum phosphide has shown promising results, tuning the surface with promoters can lead to a stable and highly active catalyst that can become commercially viable.