Mechanistic Insight into Hydrocarbon Synthesis via CO2Hydrogenation on χ-Fe5C2Catalysts

Haozhi Wang, Xiaowa Nie, Yuan Liu, Michael J. Janik, Xiaopeng Han, Yida Deng, Wenbin Hu, Chunshan Song, Xinwen Guo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


Converting CO2into value-added chemicals and fuels is one of the promising approaches to alleviate CO2emissions, reduce the dependence on nonrenewable energy resources, and minimize the negative environmental effect of fossil fuels. This work used density functional theory (DFT) calculations combined with microkinetic modeling to provide fundamental insight into the mechanisms of CO2hydrogenation to hydrocarbons over the iron carbide catalyst, with a focus on understanding the energetically favorable pathways and kinetic controlling factors for selective hydrocarbon production. The crystal orbital Hamiltonian population analysis demonstrated that the transition states associated with O-H bond formation steps within the path are less stable than those of C-H bond formation, accounting for the observed higher barriers in O-H bond formation from DFT. Energetically favorable pathways for CO2hydrogenation to CH4and C2H4products were identified which go through an HCOO intermediate, while the CH∗ species was found to be the key C1intermediate over χ-Fe5C2(510). The microkinetic modeling results showed that the relative selectivity to CH4is higher than C2H4in CO2hydrogenation, but the trend is opposite under CO hydrogenation conditions. The major impact on C2hydrocarbon production is attributed to the high surface coverage of O∗ from CO2conversion, which occupies crucial active sites and impedes C-C couplings to C2species over χ-Fe5C2(510). The coexistence of iron oxide and carbide phases was proposed and the interfacial sites created between the two phases impact CO2surface chemistry. Adding potassium into the Fe5C2catalyst accelerates O∗ removal from the carbide surface, enhances the stability of the iron carbide catalyst, thus, promotes C-C couplings to hydrocarbons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)37637-37651
Number of pages15
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number33
StatePublished - Aug 24 2022

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Materials Science


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