Structure-activity correlation of methanation catalysts via high-energy X-ray scattering

  NiMOF decomposition Copyright: © Kleist/Bauer/Zobel SPP 2080 consortia  

One of the major challenge for a sustainable power supply in the future is the long-term storage of renewable energy. A powerful approach is the power-to-gas concept, which uses excess energy to produce hydrogen via electrolytic water-splitting. The hydrogen can further react with CO2 to methane, in a so called methanation reaction.

For the methanation reaction highly active catalysts are needed which don’t deactivate under fluctuating hydrogen supply. Furthermore, they have to be resistant towards sintering. One promising route is the synthesis of novel catalysts through decomposition of metal-organic frameworks (MOFs) as precursors at high temperatures.

  in situ methanation Copyright: © IfK

For a better understanding of the mechanistic process of structural formations, as well as for the optimisation of the catalyst performance a thorough characterization of precursors and active catalysts is needed.

In this project we use high-energy X-ray scattering, in particular pair distribution function (PDF) analysis at synchrotron facilities, to investigate the structure-activity correlation of methanation catalysts and their precursors. Additionally we investigate operando

  • the decomposition of the MOFs,
  • the formation of the active phase and
  • the methanation reaction.

The MOFs and methanation catalysts are prepared by our collaborator Prof. Wolfgang Kleist (TU Kaiserslautern). Our PDF data is combined with XAS and XES data contributed from Prof. Matthias Bauer’s group (Paderborn University).


Prof. Dr. Mirijam Zobel
MSc Nils Prinz (Doktorand)


Prinz, Nils; Schwensow, Leif; Wendholt, Sven; Jentys, Andreas; Bauer, Matthias*; Kleist, Wolfgang*; Zobel, Mirijam*: Hard X-ray-based techniques for structural investigations of CO2 methanation catalysts prepared by MOF decomposition. Nanoscale 12 (2020), 15800 - 15813.

  SPP 2080 Copyright: © SPP2080


Project in SPP2080 „Katalysatoren und Reaktoren unter dynamischen Betriebsbedingungen für die Energiespeicherung und –wandlung“

Website of SPP 2080:

  DFG Copyright: © DFG
Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG)
Grant Nr.: ZO 369/2-1
Project title: MOFCO2DYN-X2: New CO2 methanation catalysts from MOF precursors – Structures and mechanisms under dynamic conditions by combination of (synchrotron-based) hard X-ray techniques
Project period: 09/2018 – 09/2021