Mechanochemical Application of Liquid Metals

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Copyright: Tang, Junma
Converting natural resources or greenhouse gases into value-added species with low carbon footprint, is essential for the development and sustainability of modern society. However, the goal for sustainable and cost-effective conversion by using many current technologies, including photo-, electro- and thermal-based catalytic reaction systems, has been largely underachieved. Hence, it is a necessity to explore and develop new approaches to fulfill this objective. In this thesis, three hybrid catalytic systems, containing liquid gallium (Ga) and solid materials as co-catalysts, are demonstrated, which realize the gaseous and liquid feedstocks conversion through nano-tribo-electrochemical reaction pathways. In the first stage of this PhD thesis, the author reports a green carbon capture and conversion technology for mitigating CO2 emissions. The technology uses suspensions of Ga liquid metal to reduce CO2 into solid carbonaceous products and O2 at near room temperature. The solid co-contributor of silver-Ga rods ensures a cyclic sustainable process. The overall process relies on mechanical energy as the input, which drives nano dimensional triboelectrochemical reactions. In the next stage, for the gaseous feedstock conversion, the author demonstrates an approach based on Ga liquid metal droplets and Ni(OH)2 co-catalysts for CH4 conversion into H2 and carbon. Mainly driven by the triboelectric voltage, originating from the joint contributions of the co-catalysts during agitation, CH4 is converted at the Ga and Ni(OH)2 interfaces. The efficiency of the system is enhanced when the reaction is performed at an increased pressure. The dehydrogenation of other non-gaseous hydrocarbons using this approach is also demonstrated. In the final stage, the author explores and realizes the liquid biofuels conversion, including canola oil and other liquid hydrocarbons, with H2 and C2H4 as the main products by employing Ga and nickel particles as the co-catalysts and mechanical energy as the stimulus. Altogether, the work of this PhD research offers novel pathways for low energy and green conversion of gaseous and liquid feedstocks that can be implemented in large scale conversion systems of the future.
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PhD Doctorate
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