Production of Syngas by Direct Catalytic Oxidation of Methane

Science  15 Jan 1993:
Vol. 259, Issue 5093, pp. 343-346
DOI: 10.1126/science.259.5093.343


The reaction between methane and oxygen over platinum and rhodium surfaces in metalcoated ceramic monoliths can be made to produce mostly hydrogen and carbon monoxide (greater than 90% selectivity for both) with almost complete conversion of methane and oxygen at reaction times as short as 10–3 seconds. This process has great promise for conversion of abundant natural gas into liquid products such as methanol and hydrocarbons, which can be easily transported from remote locations. Rhodium was considerably superior to platinum in producing more H2 and less H2O, which can be explained by the known chemistry and kinetics of reactants, intermediates, and products on these surfaces.