Miao Yu

Research Project – Emiel Hensen/Miao Yu

This project focuses on developing a novel catalytic route for the conversion of CO2 into liquid fuels and chemicals by solar H2. The first step involves the reduction of CO2 to methanethiol by solar H2 in the presence of H2S. Methanethiol, the thiol analogue of methanol, is then converted to higher hydrocarbons. The product H2S is shuttled back for methanethiol synthesis.

The promise of this method, over the conventional route via water-gas shift and Fischer-Tropsch type chemistry, is based on thermochemical considerations in the production of ethylene from CO2 and solar H2. Whereas the conventional route involves both an endothermic and an exothermic step, in the novel proposed route both steps are nearly thermoneutral. This allows for increased thermal and catalytic efficiency in the overall process, and consideration of bifunctional catalysis by combining these two reactions. This process can also be operated to obtain light olefins, which are important chemical building blocks. From a chemical process perspective, a sulfur analogue to the well-known methanol-to-olefins (MTO) or methanol-to-gasoline/hydrocarbons (MTG, MTH) process would be novel and innovative.

The first conversion step of CO2, H2 and H2S to methanethiol will be carried out with the catalysts used to convert synthesis gas with H2S to methanethiol [1,2]. The second step of C-C bond-forming reactions from CH3SH will be studied based on the similar research of MTO process. A major challenge is dealing with the deactivation of zeolite-based catalysts during methanethiol conversion. Using in-situ microspectroscopy methods, novel zeolite materials with optimal pore hierarchy will be scrutinized to control the deactivation processes.

Possible projects

Develop and understand promoted MoS2 catalysts for reduction CO2 to methanethiol in presence of H2S

Decompose methanethiol to olefins over zeolites and recycle H2S


Techniques used:

TEM, XPS, NO-IR, EXAFS, XANES, SAXS, ICP


For further information:

Emiel Hensen  (Helix, STW 3.35, Tel 5178, e.j.m.hensen@tue.nl)

Miao Yu (Helix, STW 4.40, Tel 3968, M.Yu@tue.nl)