Use of actinide oxides for the partial oxidation of methane

NUCL 147

Jonathan W. Plaue and Kenneth Czerwinski. Department of Nuclear Engineering, Massachusetts Institute of Technology, 138 Albany St., NW13-220, Cambridge, MA 02139
The heterogeneous reaction of methane gas and solid actinide oxides will be explored. In the first step of the proposed cycle, the actinide compound is reduced, thereby oxidizing methane to synthesis gas, a mixture of carbon monoxide and hydrogen. Synthesis gas has a variety of uses as precursor material for synthesis in the chemical industry. The second step involves the re-oxidation of the actinide materials using water vapor, which is reduced to form hydrogen gas. Previous work by others has demonstrated this cycle using cerium oxide compounds. Beneficial similarities in the redox properties and hydrolysis constants for the actinide elements suggest them as better reactant materials. Actinide oxide materials will be synthesized, characterized, and evaluated for reactivity with methane. Reactivity with methane will be evaluated using a heated tube reactor coupled with an inline gas chromatograph.