Advanced Structural Carbon-Supported Catalysts for Industrial Polymer Synthesis

Period of Performance: 01/01/2003 - 12/31/2003


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

Environmental and Life Support Tech.
6600 East Lookout Drive
Parker , CO 80138
Principal Investigator


70498S02-II Activated-carbon-supported metal catalysts offer the most energy-efficient, active, and selective performance available for a large number of industrial oxidation and hydrogenation processes. Unfortunately, the carbon supports suffer degradation during operation, that drastically limits operational life and operating temperatures, and adversely affects catalyst performance. This project will develop advanced heterogeneous catalysts for industrial hydrogenation and oxidation reactions. The catalyst technology is based on noble and semi-precious metals supported on novel, surface-modified activated carbons that have been hardened and cross-linked to produce a highly porous, monolithic structure. Phase I developed two new catalyst preparation techniques, resulting in physically stable, activated-carbon-supported metal catalysts. These materials were tested at bench scale for application to the terephthalic acid (PTA) purification process. Catalyst characterization, testing, and applications support were provided by major industrial partners, each of whom has identified this technology as having significant potential in a number of processes beyond PTA production. Phase II will develop catalyst manufacturing techniques for producing Porous-Solid-Carbon-supported catalysts for use in both fixed bed and batch reactors. Process tests will be performed to quantify catalyst performance, and a pilot-scale test system will be manufactured to support process economics studies. Commercial Applications and Other Benefits as described by awardee: The technology should impact three of the four major catalyst market segments. In particular, the market for PTA, currently the 11th most abundant chemical produced in the U.S., could result in $6-8M in catalyst sales yearly.