TSU is creating a new catalyst for the fight against smog

26 December 2016

TSU chemists are creating a fundamentally new silver catalyst to purify the air, capable of decomposing toxic carbon monoxide, formaldehyde, and other harmful volatile substances into harmless components. Due to its nanostructure basis, this catalyst may be effective even at room temperature and used as a filter for ventilation.

- The possibility of applying silver catalysts is less studied than the other catalysts with particles of precious metals - gold, platinum, and palladium. However, they can be no less effective in the oxidation of harmful volatile substances and cheaper, by at least 10 times - said Gregory Mamontov, the project manager, senior researcher at the Laboratory of Catalytic Research.

The fundamentally new approach of TSU chemists uses nanostructured materials. They have synthesized a particular type of silica gel - SBA-15, which consists of 6-10 nm diameter nanotubes of silicon oxide, and use it as a basis for preparing the catalyst.

- Each nanotube is used as a nanoscale reactor. Inside we conduct the synthesis of silver particles and cerium oxide smaller than 3 nm. After that, each nanotube with particles becomes the catalyst. - Our task is to distribute the particles inside the nanotubes and to organize special interaction between them that will provide a high catalytic activity in the oxidation of harmful substances. It is assumed that the catalyst obtained in the form of powder or granules can be put into the air-cleaning device at home, office, or production hall. In this case, it is not necessary to heat it, because this catalyst, in contrast to many analogs, is active and stable at room temperature, - said Gregory Mamontov. 

The scientist added that this catalyst will primarily be effective against carbon monoxide and formaldehyde, but also it will be able also to degrade other harmful volatile substances into harmless components.

- First of all, such a catalyst will be in demand in the industrial areas and cities to fight industrial emissions and smog from forest fires, which also contains a large amount of carbon monoxide. In addition, the catalyst can be adapted, for example, to neutralize the gas discharges of chemical plants and the exhaust system of automobiles, - added Gregory Mamontov.