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Continuous-Flow Sunlight-Powered CO2 Methanation Catalyzed by γ-Al2O3-Supported Plasmonic Ru Nanorods

Jelle Rohlfs, Koen W. Bossers, Nicole Meulendijks, Fidel Valega Mackenzie, Man Xu, Marcel A. Verheijen, Pascal Buskens, Francesc Sastre


Plasmonic CO2 methanation using γ-Al2O3-supported Ru nanorods was carried out under continuous-flow conditions without conventional heating, using mildly concentrated sunlight as the sole and sustainable energy source (AM 1.5, irradiance 5.5–14.4 kW·m−2 = 5.5–14.4 suns). Under 12.5 suns, a CO2 conversion exceeding 97% was achieved with complete selectivity towards CH4 and a stable production rate (261.9 mmol⋅g−1Ru⋅h−1) for at least 12 h. The CH4 production rate showed an exponential increase with increasing light intensity, suggesting that the process was mainly promoted by photothermal heating. This was confirmed by the apparent activation energy of 64.3 kJ·mol−1, which is very similar to the activation energy obtained for reference experiments in dark (67.3 kJ·mol−1). The flow rate influence was studied under 14.4 suns, achieving a CH4 production plateau of 264 µmol min−1 (792 mmol⋅g−1Ru⋅h−1) with a constant catalyst bed temperature of approximately 204 °C.

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