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ACS Nano. 2010 Jun 22;4(6):3227-35. doi: 10.1021/nn100346h.

Production of hydrogen using nanocrystalline protein-templated catalysts on m13 phage.

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Department of Materials Science and Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Massachusetts 02139, USA.


For decades, ethanol has been in use as a fuel for the storage of solar energy in an energy-dense, liquid form. Over the past decade, the ability to reform ethanol into hydrogen gas suitable for a fuel cell has drawn interest as a way to increase the efficiency of both vehicles and stand-alone power generators. Here we report the use of extremely small nanocrystalline materials to enhance the performance of 1% Rh/10% Ni@CeO(2) catalysts in the oxidative steam reforming of ethanol with a ratio of 1.7:1:10:11 (air/EtOH/water/argon) into hydrogen gas, achieving 100% conversion of ethanol at only 300 degrees C with 60% H(2) in the product stream and less than 0.5% CO. Additionally, nanocrystalline 10% Ni@CeO(2) was shown to achieve 100% conversion of ethanol at 400 degrees C with 73% H(2), 2% CO, and 2% CH(4) in the product stream. Finally, we demonstrate the use of biological templating on M13 to improve the resistance of this catalyst to deactivation over 52 h tests at high flow rates (120 000 h(-1) GHSV) at 450 degrees C. This study suggests that the use of highly nanocrystalline, biotemplated catalysts to improve activity and stability is a promising route to significant gains over traditional catalyst manufacture methods.

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