TSU creates a catalyst to protect the atmosphere from emissions

14 May 2021

A group of scientists at the TSU Laboratory of Catalytic Research (LCR) has created a new multifunctional material that combines the properties of a sorbent and a catalyst and will help solve environmental problems. The new catalyst is capable of capturing and neutralizing toluene, benzene, methanol, and other hazardous substances from industrial discharges and exhaust gases from vehicles. The scientists presented the fundamentals of creating catalysts for improving the environment in a review article published by one of the most prestigious world journals in catalysis, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental (Q1).

In this article, we carry out a systematic analysis of the latest research in the creation and application of Pt-CeO2 composites, - says Mikhail Salaev, senior researcher at LCR. - The complementary properties of platinum and cerium oxide particles make it possible to use these materials in environmental catalysis, for example, in the neutralization reactions of a wide range of volatile organic compounds, soot, nitroaromatics, and for the utilization of carbon dioxide and photocatalytic processes. The article talks about modern methods of designing such materials, the influence of these methods on the properties of platinum particles, the surface of cerium oxide, and the nature and structure of active centers.

Based on these fundamental data, TSU chemists have created a new material. They managed to find a combination Ag-CeO2/ SBA-15 (silicon oxide with an ordered structure), which does not contain expensive metals (platinum, palladium, and gold), but at the same time enables trapping and subsequent neutralization of harmful substances much more efficiently. These competitive advantages expand the possibilities of using the new material to limit emissions of harmful substances into the air.

This problem is especially urgent during the cold start of a car engine, when the greatest amount of hazardous substances is released into the environment, - explains Grigory Mamontov, the project manager, senior researcher at LCR. - Our material helps to capture these compounds at ambient temperature, and then neutralize them to harmless substances during the subsequent heating of the catalytic unit of the car to 150–250°C. This approach can also be used to remove volatile organic compounds from industrial waste gases. The catalysts developed in the course of fundamental research can be adapted to the specific practical task of air purification.

It should be noted that dirty air increasingly leads to respiratory, infectious, and cardiovascular diseases, and many other pathologies in children and adults. The use of new technologies and products can significantly reduce its negative impact on the environment and human health.