Date of Award

Fall 2021

Document Type

Open Access Dissertation

Department

Chemical Engineering

First Advisor

Jochen Lauterbach

Abstract

This work investigates catalytic and non-catalytic oxidative chemical upgrading and pollutant remediation techniques to responsibly utilize hydrocarbon feedstocks with existing infrastructure as the transition to more renewable and cleaner feedstocks for energy generation are developed. These technologies include oxidative dehydrogenation of ethane, development of magnetically separable catalysts to reduce carbon monoxide emissions during biomass upgrading as well as the subsequent use of the upgraded biomass for partial coal replacement, and electrochemical treatment of a washcoat free wire mesh supported catalyst to reduce carbon monoxide emissions in combustion exhaust.

First, doping of secondary metals in M1/M2 catalysts for oxidative dehydrogenation of ethane was investigated to determine how these dopants influence catalytic activity via in-situ and ex-situ characterization. Next, a copper and zinc catalyst with novel magnetic separability and mechanical stability were studied to reduce carbon monoxide emissions during biomass upgrading and valorization. The biomass upgraded via this methodology can be burned in conventional coal power plants at a 30-40% cofiring rate with no capital changes to existing infrastructure and carbon monoxide emissions from the upgrading process were reduced by up to 95%. Lastly, an electrochemically treated wire mesh support was utilized with a platinum and palladium catalyst to reduce carbon monoxide emissions in combustion exhaust from natural gas furnaces or small engines such as portable generators, mopeds, and lawnmowers. This treatment methodology increased the activity of the catalyst by a factor of 5.5 times with no increase in nominal precious metal loading.

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