Design metallic and non-metallic methane decomposition catalyst materials building on insight into the growth and deactivation mechanisms obtained by in-situ and operando spectroscopy and microscopy.

The project aims to obtain insights in the carbon products and degradation mechanism of methane decomposition by looking at the reaction with characterization techniques on multiple lengthscales.

This research investigates the development of new catalysts for methane decomposition for greener production of hydrogen. Thermocatalytic decomposition (TCD) of methane into hydrogen and functional solid carbon provides an opportunity to produce hydrogen without the emission of greenhouse gases. However, the feasibility of the method highly depends on the type of the carbon produced, which in turn is affected by reaction conditions and catalyst used in ways that are not currently understood. In this research, the type and distribution of carbon products will be studied in depth as a function of catalyst composition and reaction conditions. To this end, we will develop and compare metal-based and metal-lean catalysts in various forms. The catalyst materials as well as the solid carbon product formed will be analysed with in-depth in-situ and operando characterization. The study will include a multi-scale approach from single-catalyst particle up to reactor level with various characterization methods. By investigating the solid carbon product, more information can be obtained on the mechanism of its formation, to finally target a specific type of carbon, extend catalyst lifetime and allow for longer reactor operation.