Room temperature stable COx-free H2 production from methanol with magnesium oxide nanophotocatalysts Academic Article uri icon


  • Methanol, which contains 12.6 weight percent hydrogen, is a good hydrogen storage medium because it is a liquid at room temperature. However, by releasing the hydrogen, undesirable CO and/or CO2 byproducts are formed during catalytic fuel reforming. We show that alkaline earth metal oxides, in our case MgO nanocrystals, exhibit stable photocatalytic activity for CO/CO2-free H2 production from liquid methanol at room temperature. The performance of MgO nanocrystals toward methanol dehydrogenation increases with time and approaches ~320 ╬╝mol g-1 hour-1 after a 2-day photocatalytic reaction. The CO x -free H2 production is attributed to methanol photodecomposition to formaldehyde, photocatalyzed by surface electronic states of unique monodispersed, porous MgO nanocrystals, which were synthesized with a novel facile colloidal chemical strategy. An oxygen plasma treatment allows for the removal of organic surfactants, producing MgO nanocrystals that are well dispersible in methanol.

author list (cited authors)

  • Liu, Z., Yin, Z., Cox, C., Bosman, M., Qian, X., Li, N. a., ... Nocera, D. G.

publication date

  • January 1, 2016 11:11 AM