Fischer–Tropsch Synthesis: Effect of the Promoter’s Ionic Charge and Valence Level Energy on Activity
In this contribution, we examine the effect of the promoter´s ionic charge and valence orbital energy on the catalytic activity of Fe-based catalysts, based on in situ synchrotron X-ray powder diffraction (SXRPD), temperature-programmed-based techniques (TPR, TPD, CO-TP carburization), and Fischer–Tropsch synthesis catalytic testing studies. We compared the promoting effects of K (a known promoter for longer-chained products) with Ba, which has a similar ionic radius but has double the ionic charge. Despite being partially “buried” in a crystalline BaCO3 phase, the carburization of the Ba-promoted catalyst was more effective than that of K; this was primarily due to its higher (2+) ionic charge. With Ba2+, higher selectivity to methane and lighter products were obtained compared to the K-promoted catalysts; this is likely due to Ba´s lesser capability of suppressing H adsorption on the catalyst surface. An explanation is provided in terms of a more limited mixing between electron-filled Ba2+ 5p and partially filled Fe 3d orbitals, which are expected to be important for the chemical promotion, as they are further apart in energy compared to the K+ 3p and Fe 3d orbitals.