Low-Temperature Destruction of Carbon Tetrachloride over Lanthamide Oxide Based Catalysts: From Destructive Adsorption to a Catalytic Reaction Cycle

Pieter Van Der Avert, Simon G. Podkolzin, Olga Manoilova, Hendrik De Winne, Bert M. Weckhuysen

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


    The catalytic destruction of carbon tetrachloride in the presence of steam, CCl4 + 2H2O→4HCl + CO2, was investigated at 200-350°C over a series of lanthanide (La, Ce, Pr and Nd) and alkaline-earth metal (Mg, Ca, Sr and Ba) oxide-based catalysts with kinetic experiments, Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, IR spectroscopy, X-ray diffraction, and DFT calculations. This new catalytic reaction was achieved by combining destructive adsorption of CCl4 on a basic oxide surface and concurrent dechlorination of the resulting partially chlorinated solid by steam. The combination of the two noncatalytic reactions into a catalytic cycle provided a rare opportunity in heterogeneous catalysis for studying the nature and extent of surface participation in the overall reaction chemistry. The reaction is proposed to proceed over a terminal lattice oxygen site with stepwise donation of chlorine atoms from the hydrocarbon to the surface and formation of the gas-phase intermediate COCl2, which is readily readsorbed at the catalyst surface to form CO2. In a second step, the active catalyst surface is regenerated by steam with formation of gas-phase HCl. Depending on the reaction conditions, the catalytic material was found to transform dynamically from the metal oxide state to the metal oxide chloride or metal chloride state due to the bulk diffusion of oxygen and chlorine atoms. A catalyst obtained from a 10 wt % La2O 3/Al2O3 precursor exhibited the highest destruction rate: 0.289 g CCl4 h-1g-1 catalyst at 350°C, which is higher than that of any other reported catalyst system.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1637-1646
    Number of pages10
    JournalChemistry - A European Journal
    Issue number7
    Publication statusPublished - 2 Apr 2004


    • Adsorption
    • Chlorohydrocarbons
    • Density functional calculations
    • Heterogeneous catalysis
    • Lanthanides
    • barium
    • calcium
    • carbon tetrachloride
    • cesium
    • hydrocarbon
    • hydrochloric acid
    • lanthanide
    • lanthanum
    • magnesium
    • neodymium
    • promethium
    • strontium
    • adsorption
    • article
    • catalysis
    • catalyst
    • density functional theory
    • infrared spectroscopy
    • low temperature
    • Raman spectrometry
    • reaction analysis
    • X ray diffraction
    • X ray photoelectron spectroscopy


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