A new palladium and platinum catalyst shows great promise in eliminating methane emissions from various human activities. The major advantage over other catalysts is its ability to work in the presence of water vapor, which is always present during natural gas combustion.
Researchers at the Universitat Politècnica de Catalunya outlined their findings in a paper published in the Nature Communications journal. The scientific team matched the data obtained in experiments carried out at three different beamlines of the ALBA Synchrotron and studied the active sites of the catalyst while in operation: X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction and X-ray absorption. Using synchrotron light, they discovered that palladium and platinum oxidation states play a key role in methane removal and that catalysts prepared using mechanochemical methods are more active and, even more importantly, perfectly water resistant (unlike more traditional catalysts that use palladium nanoparticles supported by ceramic oxides).
Why it matters
Global warming, of course. Methane concentrations have more than doubled since pre-industrial times, mostly due to an increase in natural gas use in recent decades. Growing livestock populations and waste are also factors.
Applying this new substance to catalytic converters on ICE vehicles and domestic boilers and turbines could lead to increased methane capture.