The structural evolution of Mo2C and Mo2C/SiO2 under dry reforming of methane conditions: morphology and support effects

15 April 2022, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


The thermal carburization of MoO3 nanobelts (nb) and SiO2-supported MoO3 nanosheets under a 1 : 4 mixture of CH4 : H2 yields Mo2C-nb and Mo2C/SiO2. Following this process by in situ Mo K-edge X-ray absorption spectroscopy (XAS) reveals different carburization pathways for unsupported and supported MoO3. In particular, the carburization of α-MoO3-nb proceeds via MoO2, and that of MoO3/SiO2 via the formation of highly dispersed MoOx species. Both Mo2C-nb and Mo2C/SiO2 catalyze the dry reforming of methane (DRM, 800 °C, 8 bar) but their catalytic stability differs. Mo2C-nb shows a stable performance when using a CH4-rich feed (CH4 : CO2 = 4 : 2), however deactivation due to the formation of MoO2 occurs for higher CO2 concentrations (CH4 : CO2 = 4 : 3). In contrast, Mo2C/SiO2 is notably more stable than Mo2C-nb under the CH4 : CO2 = 4 : 3 feed. The influence of the morphology of Mo2C and its dispersion on silica on the structural evolution of the catalysts under DRM is further studied by in situ Mo K-edge XAS. It is found that Mo2C/SiO2 features a higher resistance to oxidation under DRM than the highly crystalline unsupported Mo2C-nb and this correlates with an improved catalytic stability. Lastly, the oxidation of Mo in both Mo2C-nb and Mo2C/SiO2 under DRM conditions in the in situ XAS experiments leads to an increased activity of the competing reverse water gas shift reaction.


in situ
Dry reforming


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