STTR Phase II: Scale-Up of An Innovative Spray Pyrolysis Process for Producing Pyrochlore Catalysts

Period of Performance: 02/15/2016 - 01/31/2018


Phase 2 STTR

Recipient Firm

Pyrochem Catalyst Company
700 Fifth Ave
New Brighton, PA 15066
Firm POC, Principal Investigator

Research Institution

Pyrochem Catalyst Company
Institution POC


The broader impact/commercial potential of this Business Innovation Research Phase II project is to commercialize Pyrochem Catalyst Company's (PCC) catalyst materials. These catalyst materials are unique in that the catalytically active metal is atomically dispersed in a rigid crystalline matrix. This imparts unparalleled thermal stability, even at temperatures in excess of 1000°C. Conventional catalysts typically require much higher precious metal loadings (as much as 20 times) to achieve the same activity as the materials developed in this project and at high temperatures those active metals can agglomerate into large clusters reducing their performance and the lifetime of the catalyst. The series of catalysts developed in this project are designed in a way that all precious metal is optimally utilized and protected. This includes resistance from sulfur poisoning and the accumulation of carbon when operating under severe conditions. This makes these materials ideal for high temperature processes such as steam methane reforming for hydrogen generation, autothermal reforming for syngas production, syngas generation in oxygen transport membranes (OTM), and exhaust oxidation in automotive catalytic convertors. The objectives of this Phase II STTR program are to build on the success of the Phase I objectives that developed a low cost and continuous catalyst manufacturing method for producing the pyrochlore powders that are the basis for the proposed catalyst product. The method may be equally effective for producing other types of mixed metal oxides like perovskites and fluorites. In Phase II, PCC will construct and test a scaled-up production platform, following the design elements of the proof of concept demonstrated in Phase I. The new unit will be designed to manufacture proprietary pyrochlore powders at a rate with a hundred-fold increase over production rates of the Phase I unit. The Phase II technical efforts also examine a range of catalyst synthesis parameters like oxidant gas concentration/composition, temperature distribution in the production unit, precursor residence times, synthesis solution chemistry, and optimizing heat and mass transport. Through a subaward, powders produced from the process will be characterized and tested for activity by the National Energy Technology Labs, Morgantown, WV. The overall goal of this project is the development of a high throughput / high yield manufacturing process that produces high performance catalysts for commercial sale.