Plasmonic Copper Nanoparticles for Photocatalytic Dry Methane Reforming: Synthesis, Surface, and Performance

J. Cabezas Parra, E-R. Newmeyer, J. North, D.F. Swearer
Northwestern University,
United States


Syngas is composed of carbon monoxide and hydrogen and is in high demand for its wide variety of uses in electricity generation and as a chemical feedstock. The most environmentally-friendly production method is dry methane reforming which reacts methane with carbon dioxide. However, modern DMR is prohibitively energy intensive, requiring temperatures between 1000-1200K. Plasmonic metal nanostructures have garnered considerable research interest due to their potential for sustainable photocatalytic chemistry, with promising evidence supporting copper-based Antenna-Reactor PMNs specifically for photocatalytic DMR. Previous research indicates that modification of synthetic methods for supported nanoparticles affects their surface structure, which is in turn linked to the PMNs’ photocatalytic activity. A project addressing the research need to comprehensively compare how different supports and loadings affect pDMR kinetics, selectivity, and stability was designed. Supported copper nanoparticles will be synthesized via co-precipitation while systematically varying metal oxide support types and copper-precursor concentration, then screened for copper loading relative to single and mixed oxide phases. Results will be collected into a library for comparative photocatalytic performance testing with the purpose of narrowing down the ideal range of characteristics for an optimal low-temperature pDMR photocatalyst. The complete project is reported, including future work on photoreactor design for performance testing.