Cyclohexane can serve as a good dihydrogen (H2) carrier and a safer medium to store and transport H2, as it is liquid under ambient conditions and it has a relatively high hydrogen density per unit volume (0.056 g(H2)/cm3(Cy)liq.). However, cyclohexane can release H2 only with efficient cyclohexane dehydrogenation catalysts. Here, we report the synthesis of three-dimensional micron-sized block carbon-molybdenum carbide (BCMC) composite materials that can serve as noble-metal-free catalysts for cyclohexane dehydrogenation. The materials are synthesized by a facile hydrothermal synthetic route, and their structures and morphologies are characterized by various analytical techniques. The results show that the BCMCs, along with specific morphologies, form when a source of Mo is included in the precursor and that the sizes of the microparticles in them can be tailored by changing the relative amount of Mo used for their synthesis. The as-synthesized BCMC materials exhibit high catalytic activity for cyclohexane dehydrogenation while remaining stable and maintaining their catalytic activities during the reaction. The materials' catalytic activity increases as the amount of Mo used to make the materials is increased. This is further found to be because the BCMC materials containing higher amounts of ammonium molybdate or higher densities of Mo2C provide substantially lower activation energies for the reaction. These materials can be expected to find industrial applications for catalytic production of H2 from hydrocarbons.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Chemical Engineering(all)