Synthesis and characterization of Ceria with an optimal oxygen storage capacity as potential medium to remove SO2 from flue gas emissions
Due to an increasing demand for energy, alternative renewable energy sources are investigated globally. However fossil fuels are still one of the main energy sources. The combustion of these fuels produces by-products such as SOx, NOx and CO2, which have detrimental effects on the environment and human health. Therefore, effective methods are needed to minimize the pollution and affects that these by-products cause. Catalysts are commonly employed to convert these by-products to less harmful and/or resalable products. Ceria and ceria based materials are good candidates for the removal and conversion of SOx and NOx. Ceria and ceria related materials are most effective as catalysts when they are in the nano-form with good crystallinity and nanoparticles that are uniform. The growth of nanoparticles is preceded by a nucleation process which can occur by solid-state restructuring of a gel or precipitation from a saturated solution. The precipitation method was selected to synthesize Ceria nanoparticles. Synthesis conditions such as temperature, solution type and ageing time and their effect on the physical and chemical forms of the Ceria particles were investigated. The morphology and structural properties were investigated using Scanning Electron Microscopy, X-ray diffraction and Transmission Electron Microscopy. X-ray Photoelectron Spectroscopy was used to investigate the chemical properties. It was found that low temperatures, low base volume and a solvent with a small dielectric constant favor the formation of small crystallites with a relatively large concentration of defects. These defects are desirable since they enhance the catalytic activity of ceria.