Catalytic dehydrogenation in LOHC technology
The project will employ the analytic capabilities of ESRF and ILL for the further development of liquid organic hydrogen carrier (LOHC) technology. LOHCs allow storing H2 by hydrogenation of organic compounds and subsequent extraction by catalytic dehydrogenation in a fully reversible fashion. Central for the further development of this technology are improvements in the heterogeneous catalysts used for the dehydrogenation process, most of which are based on Pt/Al2O3. The industrial partner aims at making the technology more competitive by advancing the catalytic system, e.g., by catalytic modifiers and selective poisoning, which requires a better understanding of catalyst deactivation.
In the project, the dehydrogenation of dibenzyltoluene, one of the most common LOHCs and the molecule used in the process of the industrial partner, will be studied in operando under realistic reaction conditions (300° C, 1-5 bar) using high-energy X-ray diffraction at ID31, neutron total diffraction studies at D1b, and X-ray spectroscopy at BM23. These studies will allow us to follow quantitatively the time-dependent changes in structure, morphology, and chemical state of the LOHC catalyst during the reaction. This will provide a comprehensive atomic-scale picture of the dehydrogenation and catalyst degradation processes and thus a basis for the knowledge-based development of efficient noble-metal dehydrogenation catalysts.