Evaluation of foam nickel for the catalytic partial oxidation of methane
The catalytic activity of an industrially supplied nickel foam was evaluated for the conversion of methane to syngas via partial oxidation in air. At a temperature of 850 °C, 89% CH4 conversion was attained with H2 and CO selectivity of 96 and 97%, respectively. The catalytic performance of nickel foam was found to be comparable to an in-house prepared 10%wt Ni/?-Al2O3. Interestingly the foam catalyst was found to be capable of light-off without in situ H2 reduction unlike the supported nickel catalyst. CH4 conversion and H2 and CO selectivity were found to increase as the inlet temperature increased from 650 to 850 °C. Increasing the contact time by reducing the gas flow rate resulted in reduced CH4 conversion and H2 and CO selectivity, indicating substantial transport limitations. A key finding was that oxidative pretreatment of the nickel foam led to the formation of a surface oxide layer resulting in an increase in surface area and an improvement in catalytic activity.