Mesoporous Catalysts for Ambient Temperature Aqueous Phase Oxidation
Innovative ambient temperature oxidation catalysts based upon transition metal containing mesoporous supports are proposed. The self-assembly of amphiphilic surfactants, co-solvents, and oxide network formers is utilized to produce monolithic gels that can be readily converted to amorphous mesoporous oxide structures by thermal treatment. Using this approach, open structured mixed transition metal oxide supports with greater than 70% porosity composed of interconnected 10-30 nm pores with surface areas greater than 500 m2/g are formed. The catalytically significant transition metal sites are then combined with noble metal sites to produce highly active oxidation catalysts capable of ambient temperature operation due to enhanced oxidation activity combined with reduced mass transfer resistance compared to conventional catalysts. The Water Recovery System (WRS) aboard the International Space Station (ISS) uses a conventional catalyst to oxidize problematic organic contaminants that are difficult to remove by other methods. To provide sufficient oxidation, the three-phase reactor operates at 130*C and 0.50 MPa. Replacement of the current catalyst with one capable of ambient temperature operation will dramatically reduce WRS energy usage and system complexity. The Phase I project will demonstrate the feasibility of this approach. The Phase II program will deliver a prototype catalyst capable of efficiently oxidizing organic contaminants at ambient temperature.
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