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Active Sites For Tandem Reactions Of CO2 Reduction And Ethane Dehydrogenation

Binhang Yan, Siyu Yao, Shyam Kattel, Qiyuan Wu, Zhenhua Xie, Elaine Gomez, Ping Liu, Dong Su, Jingguang G. Chen

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Ethylene (C2H4) is one of the most important raw materials for chemical industry. The tandem reactions of CO2-assisted dehydrogenation of ethane (C2H6) to ethylene creates an opportunity to effectively use the underutilized ethane from shale gas while mitigating anthropogenic CO2 emissions. Here we identify the most likely active sites over CeO2-supported NiFe catalysts by using combined in situ characterization with density-functional theory (DFT) calculations. The experimental and theoretical results reveal that the Ni–FeOx interfacial sites can selectively break the C–H bonds and preserve the C–C bond of C2H6 to produce ethylene, while the Ni–CeOx interfacial sites efficiently cleave all of the C–H and C–C bonds to produce synthesis gas. Controlled synthesis of the two distinct active sites enables rational enhancement of the ethylene selectivity for the CO2-assisted dehydrogenation of ethane.