Skip to comments.Printing out new catalysts
Posted on 11/01/2012 11:17:39 PM PDT by neverdem
An inkjet printer has been repurposed to create a huge library of potential catalysts. To make the technology work with inorganic reagents that have different chemistries, a collaboration between chemists at the University of California, Santa Barbara, US, and Zhejiang University in China, has created special 'inks' made of colloidal nanoparticles of different metal precursors and polymers that direct the formation of the resulting nanoparticle structures.
Different nanoparticle inks can then be loaded into seperate ink containers and combined in precise amounts, resulting in up to 1 million new formulations an hour, containing up to eight different components. That resulting library can then be explored for new catalysts.
X Liu et al, Nano Lett., 2012, DOI: 10.1021/nl302992q
Don’t know much about chemistry but... WOW! This sounds big.
What kind of catalysts would researchers and industry desperately like to have right now that they don’t? Are there any? Or is it more a matter of the more the merrier, and there are no desired catalysts or classes of catalysts whose absence is holding us back?
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Any process where platinum is currently used: Auto catalytic converters, petroleum stacks, you name it.
As to new ones, room temperature water dissociation: Break down water into O2 and H2 without resorting to electrolysis. Instant hydrogen economy.
“Instant hydrogen economy.”
Hold yer horses there, pardner. That would only be feasible IF the energy cost to produce the catalyst was less than the energy produced by burning the hydrogen. Otherwise, it’s still net loss.
Wow bump for later reading.
There are many different catalysts, but it depends on what you want to make. Some are very expensive, e.g. platinum in a car's catalytic converter.
Or is it more a matter of the more the merrier, and there are no desired catalysts or classes of catalysts whose absence is holding us back?
It's more of a matter about what you want to make and the energy required to make that reaction happen.
“That would only be feasible IF the energy cost to produce the catalyst was less than the energy produced by burning the hydrogen.”
I hate to disagree, but that is not correct.
A catalyst is made once and catalyzes the conversion to hydrogen virtually forever with very little degradation, i.e. you make it once and it keeps converting without additional catalyst being made. That is the whole idea behind catalysis.
Well, in that case, it would seem like a great solution. However, what are the chances that we will discover something that would make life that easy?
about the same chance that James Watt had in inventing the Watt Steam Engine in 1765 - it single-handedly started the Industrial Revolution and made England a superpower.
you just never know.