Catalyst Iron Carbide with Broad Application Prospects

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Iron Carbide Features

The next generation of anode materials for lithium-ion batteries is iron carbide. This type of transitional metal carbide has excellent electrochemical stability, high conductivity and rate performance. Additionally, iron carbide has high thermal stability and hardness which allow lithium-ion batteries for extreme use in harsh environments.

Transition Metal Carbide Nanostructures Attract Attention

The nanostructures of transitional metal carbides, particularly iron carbide, have received a lot of attention in recent years. These nanostructures are known for their excellent saturation magnetization, stability and catalytic activity. This feature has great potential for use in areas such as nanomagnetism and Tropsch synthes (Tropsch), energy storage and conversion, biomedicine and biomedicine. However, most commonly used preparation methods like solid-phase reactions, sonochemical and solgel have difficulties in controlling the phase of their products.

Iron Carbide Catalyst

Zhao Yujun and his team at Tianjin university have made remarkable progress using Fe5C2 catalysts to create ethanol in their DMO hydrogenation process. This was the first time that a novel hydrogen/methanol vapor mixed-gas carbonization process was developed. The team then created an extremely stable iron carbide catalyst, largely composed of Fe5C2 within a reaction atmosphere.

Studies have shown that DMO hydrogenation on Fe5C2 catalyst works differently from traditional copper-based catalysts. Fe5C2 is able to activate the -OH intermediate hydrogenation product, methyl glycolate (MG) so after addition Hydrogen reaction, it produces methyl Acetate (MA), instead of the copper-based catalysts’ ethylene glycol. Fe5C2 is capable of further hydrogenating MA in order to obtain ethanol with high selectivity. Additionally, Fe5C2 did not show significant C–C bond breaking activity. A higher temperature of reaction (260 °C) resulted in a 90% yield and the MA by-product. Fe5C2 has a distinct advantage over other copper-based catalysts.
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