Identification of Non-Precious Metal Alloy Catalysts for Selective Hydrogenation of Acetylene

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Science  06 Jun 2008:
Vol. 320, Issue 5881, pp. 1320-1322
DOI: 10.1126/science.1156660

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The removal of trace acetylene from ethylene is performed industrially by palladium hydrogenation catalysts (often modified with silver) that avoid the hydrogenation of ethylene to ethane. In an effort to identify catalysts based on less expensive and more available metals, density functional calculations were performed that identified relations in heats of adsorption of hydrocarbon molecules and fragments on metal surfaces. This analysis not only verified the facility of known catalysts but identified nickel-zinc alloys as alternatives. Experimental studies demonstrated that these alloys dispersed on an oxide support were selective for acetylene hydrogenation at low pressures.

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