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A KAIST Research Team Develops Diesel Reforming Catalyst Enabling Hydrogen Production for Future Mobile Fuel Cells
This catalyst capability allowing stable hydrogen production from commercial diesel is expected to be applied in mobile fuel cell systems in the future hydrogen economy On August 16, a joint research team led by Professors Joongmyeon Bae and Kang Taek Lee of KAIST’s Department of Mechanical Engineering and Dr. Chan-Woo Lee of Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) announced the successful development of a highly active and durable reforming catalyst allowing hydrogen production from commercial diesel. Fuel reforming is a hydrogen production technique that extracts hydrogen from hydrocarbons through catalytic reactions. Diesel, being a liquid fuel, has a high storage density for hydrogen and is easy to transport and store. There have therefore been continuous research efforts to apply hydrogel supply systems using diesel reformation in mobile fuel cells, such as for auxiliary power in heavy trucks or air-independent propulsion (AIP) systems in submarines. However, diesel is a mixture of high hydrocarbons including long-chained paraffin, double-bonded olefin, and aromatic hydrocarbons with benzene groups, and it requires a highly active catalyst to effectively break them down. In addition, the catalyst must be extremely durable against caulking and sintering, as they are often the main causes of catalyst degradation. Such challenges have limited the use of diesel reformation technologies to date. The joint research team successfully developed a highly active and durable diesel reforming catalyst through elution (a heat treatment method used to uniformly grow active metals retained in an oxide support as ions in the form of metal nanoparticles), forming alloy nanoparticles. The design was based on the fact that eluted nanoparticles strongly interact with the support, allowing a high degree of dispersion at high temperatures, and that producing an alloy from dissimilar metals can increase the performance of catalysts through a synergistic effect. The research team introduced a solution combustion synthesis method to produce a multi-component catalyst with a trace amount of platinum (Pt) and ruthenium (Ru) penetrated into a ceria (CeO2) lattice, which is a structure commonly used as a support for catalysts in redox reactions. When exposed to a diesel reforming reaction environment, the catalyst induces Pt-Ru alloy nanoparticle formation upon Pt and Ru elution onto the support surface. In addition to the catalyst analysis, the research team also succeeded in characterizing the behaviour of active metal elution and alloy formation from an energetic perspective using a density functional theory-based calculation. In a performance comparison test between the Pt-Ru alloy catalyst against existing single-metal catalysts, the reforming activity was shown to have improved, as it showed a 100% fuel conversion rate even at a low temperature (600oC, compared to the original 800oC). In a long-term durability test (800oC, 200 hours), the catalyst showed commercial stability by successfully producing hydrogen from commercial diesel without performance degradation. The study was conducted by Ph.D. candidate Jaemyung Lee of KAIST’s Department of Mechanical Engineering as the first author. Ph.D. candidate Changho Yeon of KIER, Dr. Jiwoo Oh of KAIST’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, Dr. Gwangwoo Han of KIER, Ph.D. candidate Jeong Do Yoo of KAIST’s Department of Mechanical Engineering, and Dr. Hyung Joong Yun of the Korea Basic Science Institute contributed as co-authors. Dr. Chan-Woo Lee of KIER and Professors Kang Taek Lee and Joongmyeon Bae of KAIST’s Department of Mechanical Engineering contributed as corresponding authors. The research was published in the online version of Applied Catalysis B: Environmental (IF 24.319, JCR 0.93%) on June 17, under the title “Highly Active and Stable Catalyst with Exsolved PtRu Alloy Nanoparticles for Hydrogen Production via Commercial Diesel Reforming”. Professor Joongmyeon Bae said, “The fact that hydrogen can be stably produced from commercial diesel makes this a very meaningful achievement, and we look forward to this technology contributing to the active introduction of mobile fuel cell systems in the early hydrogen economy.” He added, “Our approach to catalyst design may be applied not only to reforming reactions, but also in various other fields.” This research was supported by the National Research Foundation of Korea through funding from the Ministry of Science, ICT and Future Planning. Figure. Schematic diagram of high-performance diesel reforming catalyst with eluted platinum-ruthenium alloy nanoparticles and long-term durability verification experiment results for commercial diesel reforming reaction
Elsevier Selects a KAIST Graduate's Paper as the Top Cited Papers in 2011-2012
Dr. Myung-Won Seo, a graduate from the Department of Chemical and Bimolecular Engineering at KAIST, published a paper in January 2011 in Chemical Engineering Journal, which was entitled “Solid Circulation and Loop-seal Characteristics of a Dual Circulating Fluidized Bed: Experiments and CFD Simulation.” His paper was selected by Elsevier as the Top Cited Papers of 2011-2012. The Chemical Engineering Journal is a renowned peer-reviewed journal issued by Elsevier. Dr. Seo published another paper, “CFD Simulation with Experiments in a Dual Circulating Fluidized Bed Gasifier,” in January 2012 in Computers & Chemical Engineering, which was also selected as the Most Downloaded Papers in 2012-2013. Dr. Seo graduated with a doctoral degree from KAIST in 2011. He is currently working at the Clean Fuel Laboratory, the Korea Institute of Energy Research, Daejeon, as a researcher. His research areas are coal gasification, upgrading, and liquefaction, as well as energy and chemical production from low-grade fuels such as biomass and wastes.
Collaboration with Korea Institute of Energy Research
KAIST and the Korea Institute of Energy Research (KIER) agreed on September 4th to further collaboration on energy research such as the development of nano-based hybrid solar cells, bio-fuels, artificial photosynthesis, and carbon dioxide reduction. The two institutions will select 11 research projects to focus on their cooperation. President Steve Kang (in the right) stood with Jooho Whang, the president of KIER (in the left), holding the signed memorandum of understanding.
KAIST Inks Agreement with KERI for EEWS Technological Cooperation
KAIST concluded an agreement with the Korea Institute of Energy Research for technological cooperation in the research on the four global issues of energy, environment, water and sustainability (EEWS) on Tuesday (April 15). The agreement was signed by KAIST President Nam-Pyo Suh and Moon-Hee Han, director of the Korea Institute of Energy Research at the KAIST. The agreement calls for building a cooperative network for exchanges of personnel and information, and joint use of research facilities and equipment between the two institutions. Under the agreement, KAIST and KIER will also jointly conduct scientific researches. When it comes to personnel exchange, KAIST will appoint researchers of KIER as adjunct professors of KAIST, while KIER will appoint KAIST professors as its adjunct researchers. Undergraduate students of KAIST will be given an opportunity to join government-commissioned projects and participate in an internship program of the institute.
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