Tailoring the product selectivity of Co/SiO2 Fischer-Tropsch synthesis catalysts by lanthanide doping

Mauro C. Ribeiro, Muthu K. Gnanamani, Richard Garcia, Gary Jacobs, Raimundo C. Rabelo-Neto, Fabio B. Noronha, Igor F. Gomes, Burtron H. Davis

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Scopus citations


The effect of the nature of the lanthanide (Ln = La, Ce, Pr, Sm, Gd) on the structure and reactivity of Co/SiO2 catalysts for CO hydrogenation (i.e., Fischer Trospch synthesis) was investigated. In-situ temperature programmed reduction with extended x-ray absorption fine structure and x-ray absorption near edge spectroscopy (TPR-EXAFS/XANES) of the structure of both Co and Ln containing phases under activation and CO hydrogenation conditions were performed. Concerning catalyst selectivity (made at comparable conversion levels), while methane selectivity was higher for the Gd-doped catalyst (∼100%, relative) compared to the unpromoted catalyst, the selectivity to olefins plus alcohols and C2-C4 products was higher (∼35%, relative), compared to the unpromoted catalyst. The Ce-promoted Co/SiO2 catalyst presented the highest oxygenate/olefin selectivity (∼40%), among the promoted catalysts tested at a similar conversion level of ∼20%. Under reactive conditions (both following H2 activation and during CO+H2 flow), a mixture containing small LnOX/CoO/Co° nanocrystallites likely constitute the active sites during reaction. These results imply that the presence of the lanthanide likely introduces surface defects in the oxides (LnOX and/or CoO) located at the metallic cobalt nanoparticle rim which may serve as active sites for active O-containing species (e.g., mobile Type II OH groups) that may either serve as chain termination species, or generate chain terminating species such as formates (i.e., essentially molecularly adsorbed CO) upon CO adsorption.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)80-90
Number of pages11
JournalCatalysis Today
StatePublished - Mar 1 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The Commonwealth of Kentucky is acknowledged by partly funding this project. The LNLS is also acknowledged by the assigned beamtime under proposal XAFS-1 19066, as well as for the beamline managers for the valuable help with the measurements. The authors thank UTSA for providing financial support through startup funds. F.B. Noronha thanks CNPq for the financial support.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2018 Elsevier B.V.


  • Ceria
  • Cobalt
  • Fischer-Tropsch synthesis
  • Higher oxygenate synthesis
  • Lanthanides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Chemistry (all)


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