SBIR Phase I: Development and Validation of Palladium Supported on Hierarchically Porous Monolithic Carbon Catalysts

Period of Performance: 01/01/2014 - 12/31/2014


Phase 1 SBIR

Recipient Firm

ThruPore Technologies
1118 Canyon Rd. N.
Tuscaloosa, AL 35406
Principal Investigator, Firm POC


This Small Business Innovation Research Phase I project will develop long lasting, hierarchically porous monolithic carbon catalyst supports that require greatly reduced precious metal catalyst loadings while improving the catalytic efficiency for chemical manufacturers. There is an ever present need for better catalysts to increase throughput, yields, and purity in current and new chemical process technologies. The high porosity at various length scales afforded by the proposed technology allows for more intimate contact between the reactants and catalyst, reducing the amount of precious metal catalyst needed while also enhancing catalyst performance avoiding expensive process upsets and shutdowns due to loss of catalyst activity, selectivity and integrity. These carbon supports accomplish this by maximizing the dispersity and decreasing the size of the catalyst nanoparticles, resulting in longer lifetimes and improved performance. In this Phase I project the company will further develop this catalyst, identify industrially relevant chemical reactions that it enhances, and compare the effectiveness to currently available catalysts. The research involved will provide the necessary data needed to test the catalyst in lab and pilot scale fixed bed reactors. The broader impact/commercial potential of this project is that the hierarchically porous monolithic carbon catalyst being developed promises a longer lasting catalyst with more efficient utilization of precious metals, a limited resource. This more active catalyst can lower the operating temperature in chemical reactions thereby decreasing energy usage and giving products with fewer impurities, requiring a smaller number of purification steps. Success will therefore impact both ecological and commercial sustainability in the chemical industry. The catalyst to be tested represents the first of a new class of hierarchically porous catalyst supports and so further validation of this new product will provide the foundation for introduction of a broad class of catalysts with these superior properties. If successful, manufacturing of this new class of catalysts will be pursued, leading to job creation in the United States. The early adopters of this technology can expect less chemical reactor downtime and increased chemical production, resulting in increased operating income giving them a clear advantage over their competitors.