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Development of heterostructured semiconducting nanoparticles for methane conversion by photocatalytic process

Grant number: 20/09628-6
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2020
Effective date (End): September 30, 2022
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Process Industries
Principal Investigator:Cauê Ribeiro de Oliveira
Grantee:Ricardo Marques e Silva
Home Institution: Embrapa Instrumentação Agropecuária. Empresa Brasileira de Pesquisa Agropecuária (EMBRAPA). Ministério da Agricultura, Pecuária e Abastecimento (Brasil). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:18/01258-5 - Novel chemical catalytic and photocatalytic processes for the direct conversion of methane and CO2 to products, AP.TEM


In particular, the livestock (mainly cattle) and in minor concern, several agri-industrial wastes generate huge amounts of methane, which is available to be recovered and used in other processes, minimizing the emission to the environment. However, the methane recovery strategies are very expensive, requiring large volumes of energy. On the other hand, a solar energy is available, in fact, this is a driving force for the process of methane conversion to value-added products, such as methanol by photocatalytic oxidation. Semiconducting structures are reported in literature as the most prospective photocatalysts for these reactions, including the photoactivated methane oxidation, but few are shown as adequate for partial or selective oxidation aiming, for instance, methane to methanol. However, a proper knowledge of photocatalyst role and reaction way may provide tools to control the reaction extension, leading to the production of OH. radicals which can react in specific methane sites to produce methanol. The complex structures (heterostructures) are nowadays one of the most important strategies for heterogeneous photocatalytic reactions, since part of the structure (one phase) would act as a cathode (generally a p-type semiconductor) whereas the other phase would act as anode (n-type semiconductor). Then, this electrochemical cell, ideally comprised as a complex nanoparticle composed by two aligned, epitaxially attached phases, demands adequate methods to produce such nanostructures, and methodologies to evaluate their effectivity. In previous works, the heterostructured nanoparticles TiO2:SnO2, WO3:TiO2 and g-C3N4/Nb2O5 proved to be efficient for oxidation of different emerging pollutants in water. In this way, these types of systems can be good candidates for efficient conversion of methane to methanol, resulting in great possibilities for photoactivated oxidation reactions with economic and environmental point attractive. (AU)