Despite extensive use of Pd nanocrystals as catalysts, the realization of a Pd-based continuous flow reactor remains a challenge. Difficulties arise due to ill-defined anchoring of the nanocrystals on a substrate and reactivity of the substrate under different reaction conditions. We demonstrate the first metal (Pd) nanowire-based catalytic flow reactor that can be used across different filtration platforms, wherein, reactants flow through a porous network of nanowires (10-1000 nm pore sizes) and the product can be collected as filtrate. Controlling the growth parameters and obtaining high aspect ratio of the nanowires (diameter = ∼13 nm and length > 8000 nm) is necessary for successful fabrication of this flow reactor. The reactor performance is similar to a conventional reactor, but without requiring energy-expensive mechanical stirring. Synchrotron-based EXAFS studies were used to examine the catalyst microstructure and Operando FT-IR spectroscopic studies were used to devise a regenerative strategy. We show that after prolonged use, the catalyst performance can be regenerated up to 99% by a simple wash-off process without disturbing the catalyst bed. Thus, collection, regeneration and redispersion processes of the catalyst in conventional industrial reactors can be avoided. Another important advantage is avoiding specific catalyst-anchoring substrates, which are not only expensive, but also non-universal in nature.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- General Materials Science