Activity Descriptors Derived from Comparison of Mo and Fe as Active Metal for Methane Conversion to Aromatics

Ina Vollmer, Samy Ould-Chikh, Antonio Aguilar-Tapia, Guanna Li, Evgeny A. Pidko, Jean-Louis Hazemann, Freek Kapteijn, Jorge Gascon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

50 Scopus citations


Producing aromatics directly from the smallest hydrocarbon building block, methane, is attractive because it could help satisfy increasing demand for aromatics while filling the gap created by decreased production from naphtha crackers. The system that catalyzes the direct methane dehydroaromatization (MDA) best so far is Mo supported on zeolite. Mo has shown to outperform other transition metals (TMs). Here we attempt to explain the superiority of Mo by directly comparing Fe and Mo supported on HZSM-5 zeolite. To determine the most important parameters responsible for the superior performance of Mo, detailed characterization using X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) techniques combined with catalytic testing and theoretical calculations are performed. The higher abundance of mono- and dimeric sites for the Mo system, their ease of carburization in methane, as well as intrinsically lower activation energy barriers of breaking the methane C–H bond over Mo explain the better catalytic performance. In addition, a pretreatment in CO is presented to more easily carburize Fe and thereby improve its catalytic performance.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)18814-18824
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American Chemical Society
Issue number47
StatePublished - Nov 4 2019

Bibliographical note

KAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Financial support from the SABIC-NWO CATC1CHEM CHIPP project (Grant no. 501100003246) is gratefully acknowledged. Thanks to Dr. Christoph Dittrich (SABIC), Dr. Frank Mostert (SABIC), and Dr. T. Alexander Nijhuis (SABIC) for helpful discussion. Dr. Marí a JoséValero-Romero (Universidad de Malaga) is also acknowledged for helpful discussion. NWO surfsara is acknowledged for providing
access to the supercomputer facilities. Guanna Li acknowledges financial support from the NWO veni grant (no.016.Veni.172.034)


Dive into the research topics of 'Activity Descriptors Derived from Comparison of Mo and Fe as Active Metal for Methane Conversion to Aromatics'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this