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Aqueous Au-Pd colloids catalyze selective CH4 oxidation to CH3OH with O2 under mild conditions

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Science  07 Sep 2017:
eaan6515
DOI: 10.1126/science.aan6515

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Abstract

The selective oxidation of methane, the primary component of natural gas, remains an important challenge in catalysis. Using colloidal gold-palladium nanoparticles rather than the same nanoparticles supported on titanium oxide, we oxidized methane to methanol with high selectivity (92%) in aqueous solution at mild temperatures. Using isotopically labeled O2 as an oxidant in the presence of H2O2, we demonstrate that the methanol produced incorporated a substantial fraction (70%) of gas-phase O2. More oxygenated products were formed than H2O2 consumed, suggesting that the controlled breakdown of H2O2 activates methane which subsequently incorporates molecular oxygen through a radical process. If a source of methyl radicals can be established, then the selective oxidation of methane to methanol using molecular oxygen is possible.

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