Effect of surface structure on the catalytic behavior of Ni:Cu/Al and Ni:Cu:K/Al catalysts for methane decomposition

S. Tajammul Hussain*, Sheraz Gul, Muhammed Mazhar, Dalaver H. Anjum, Faical Larachi

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


Methane decomposition using nickel, copper, and aluminum (Ni:Cu/Al) and nickel, copper, potassium, and aluminum (Ni:Cu:K/Al) modified nano catalysts has been investigated for carbon fibers, hydrogen and hydrocarbon production. X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), static secondary ion mass spectrometry (SSIMS), thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), Fourier transform infrared (FT-IR), secondary electron microscopy/X-ray energy dispersive (SEM-EDX), and temperature programmed desorption (TPD) were used to depict the chemistry of the catalytic results. These techniques revealed the changes in surface morphology and structure of Ni, Cu, Al, and K, and formation of bimetallic and trimetallic surface cationic sites with different cationic species, which resulted in the production of graphitic form of pure carbon on Ni:Cu/Al catalyst. The addition of K has a marked effect on the product selectivity and reactivity of the catalyst system. K addition restricts the formation of carbon on the surface and increases the production of hydrogen and C2, C3 hydrocarbons during the catalytic reaction whereas no hydrocarbons are produced on the sample without K. This study completely maps the modified surface structure and its relationship with the catalytic behavior of both systems. The process provides a flexible route for the production of carbon fibers and hydrogen on Ni:Cu/Al catalyst and hydrogen along with hydrocarbons on Ni:Cu:K/Al catalyst. The produced carbon fibers are imaged using a transmission electron microscope (TEM) for diameter size and wall structure determination. Hydrogen produced is COx free, which can be used directly in the fuel cell system. The effect of the addition of Cu and its transformation and interaction with Ni and K is responsible for the production of CO/CO2 free hydrogen, thus producing an environmental friendly clean energy.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)374-382
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Natural Gas Chemistry
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • bimetallic catalysts
  • carbon fibers
  • higher hydrocarbons
  • hydrogen
  • methane decomposition

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology
  • Organic Chemistry


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