D1/E1 - Activation of Methane

A profound understanding of the activation of methane requires a description of chemical and physical processes over a wide range of space and time dimensions:

  • the identification of elementary steps and catalytic cycles through theoretical and experimental studies on model systems
  • the coupling of these molecular processes with transport of energy and molecules in meso- and macroscopic dimensions
  • the chemical transformation of catalyst precursors into active phases, during which deactivation by compound formation, poisoning and reactant-induced restructuring may occur.

D1 Chemical activation of methane

The chemical activation of methane is done within the framework of oxidative coupling of methane (OCM). We persue a multi-scale approach that combines con­cepts and methodologies of chemical syn­thesis, physical chemistry and surface sci­ence with chemical engineering.

Multi-scale approach for bridging the gaps in time and length scale of OCM towards a unified model.

Our first research package is devoted to the experimental and theoretical analysis of ho­mogeneous (gas phase) processes, extended over all relevant dimensions of transport, to achieve a comprehensive kinetic description based upon observables or theoretically verified input data.

The existing family of reaction models will be validated and combined with our second research package, dedicated to identi­fying the relevant surface reactions, determine the concomitantly released heat, and identify the species that are dissociated from the surface to activate the gas phase reaction.

Project team

Dau, Driess, Freund, Görke, Hildebrandt, Kaupp, Kraume, Krähnert, LimbergRay, Risse, Sauer, Scheffler, Schlögl, Schomäcker, Schwarz, ThomasWozny.
Former team members: Enders, Fielicke, Horn, Greco, Knorr, Meijer, Schubert, Sierka.
Main investigators are given in bold.Dau, Holger

E1 - Biological activation of C-H bonds

In nature microorganisms are able to catalyse the oxidative degradation of methane with high efficiency. These enzymes (methane monooxygenases - MMOs) are studied by our cooperation partner at Northwestern University in Evanston (USA) by the group of Amy C. Rosenzweig.

Our present studies aim for the synthesis of bioinspired models for the hydroxylation of methane, focussing on functional bioinspired models.

Methane monooxygenase; Copyright: A. Rosenzweig, Northwestern University

Highly relevant compounds, bearing the [Cu-O-Cu]2+ subunit proposed to be a functional model for the Cu-based MMO, will be probed with respect to activation of O2 for selective methane monooxygenation (D1-2).

They may further be used as a prototype for the immobilisation of a molecular (bioinspired) catalyst on mesoporous support materials, thereby combining aspects of homogeneous, hetero­geneous, and biological catalysis.

Contact D1

Joachim Sauer
Humboldt Universität zu Berlin
AG Quantenchemie
Brook-Taylor-Str. 2
Berlin , 12489
+49 30 2093-7135

Reinhard Schomäcker
Technische Universität Berlin
Inst. f. Chemie / FG Technische Chemie
Straße des 17. Juni 135
Berlin , 10623
+49 30 314-24973