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Methane Partial Oxidation Over Multifunctional 2-D Materials
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The goal of this research is to design, synthesize, and evaluate highly selective, active, and stable multifunctional catalysts for the low temperature (< 500 Kelvin (K)) partial oxidation of methane to methanol (MTM) with molecular oxygen.


University of South Carolina, Columbia, SC 29208

University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309
Pajarito Powder, Albuquerque, NM 87109


This project will investigate single atom catalysts embedded and stabilized in two-dimensional materials such as graphene (GR) and "supported" on Group VIII and IB transition metals such as nickel..


Methane, the primary component of natural gas, is a source of energy and economic growth as well as an environmental concern. Recent developments in horizontal drilling and enhanced extraction methods have resulted in production of an estimated 62.4 trillion m3 of ‘stranded’, or uneconomic, natural gas. Uneconomical natural gas is often flared or vented at remote oil production sites. Leaked, flared, and/or vented gas represents a "lost opportunity" and this research project aims to maximize the value of the resource.

Accomplishments (most recent listed first)
  • A high-pressure reactor capable of conducting catalyst evaluations for the high-pressure methane-tomethanol reaction was constructed. The reactor is equipped with a furnace and temperature control capabilities up to > 400ºC. Both electronic pressure gauges and standard pressure gauges were connected to various points in the reactor to enable monitoring of the pressure upstream and downstream of the catalyst bed. A back pressure regulator was installed in the reactor system to control the reactor pressure. Four mass flow controllers were included to control the flow of O2, CH4, and He for the reaction, as well as H2 for catalyst pretreatment. A new in-line gas chromatography system with both flame ionization and thermal conductivity detectors was brought online to measure reactant conversions and product yields. Check valves and particle filters were also built in the reactor system to ensure safety and avoid contamination of the gas chromatograph. The online gas chromatography system is now operational and has been calibrated for the main reactant and product gases of interest (methane, oxygen, methanol, carbon monoxide, carbon dioxide, ethane, etc.). The gas line between the reactor and online gas chromatograph was designed to be heated by to avoid condensation of compounds with high boiling points downstream of the reactor.
Project Start
Project End
DOE Contribution


Performer Contribution


Contact Information

NETL — Eric Smistad ( or 281-494-2619)
University of South Carolina — Andreas Heyden ( or 803-777-5025)