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NERSC Initiative for Scientific Exploration (NISE) 2010 Awards

Reaction pathways in methanol steam reformation

Hua Guo, University of New Mexico

Associated NERSC Project: Quantum dynamics of elementary reactions in the gas phase and on surfaces (m627), Principal Investigator: Hua Guo

NISE Award: 200,000 Hours
Award Date: February 2010

Methanol steam reforming is a promising process capable of generating hydrogen fuel for mobile fuel cell applications. The current catalyst (Cu/ZnO) has a few undesirable properties such as sintering at high temperatures. A more thermally stable catalyst (PdZn/ZnO) has been discovered recently. This research project is exploring the reaction mechanisms for the steam reforming of methanol on metal surfaces, in collaboration with an experimentalist (A. Datye at UNM). In particular, we are focusing on the initial steps of dissociative adsorption of both H2O and CH3OH on a new alloy (PdZn) catalyst.