Nanoparticle molybdenum dioxide: A highly active catalyst for partial oxidation of aviation fuels

Oscar Marin-Flores, Timothy Turba, Caleb Ellefson, Kang Wang, Joe Breit, Jeongmin Ahn, M. Grant Norton, Su Ha

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


The More Electric Airplane (MEA) concept may be the most innovative development in aviation since the Wright " Flyer" and certainly represents the most transformative change in commercial aviation since the first use of jet engines in 1952. One of the key requirements for enabling the MEA is fuel-flexible solid oxide fuel cell systems that operate directly on logistics fuels such as Jet-A. Of the many fuel cell systems, a solid oxide fuel cell with an internal reforming is most interesting technology for commercial aviation due to its simplicity. In this paper, we show that nanoparticle molybdenum dioxide (MoO2) synthesized directly from a reducing ethylene glycol/water solution can catalyze the partial oxidation of dodecane (a C-12 hydrocarbon surrogate for Jet-A fuel) at weight-hourly-space-velocities up to 10h-1. Even at these very high flow rates the MoO2 nanoparticle catalyst shows a remarkably high fuel conversion of>90% with a hydrogen yield of>70% and an exceptional coking resistance. Under similar environments, conventional Ni-based catalysts and commercial low surface-area MoO2 quickly deactivate due to coking. Our results demonstrate that in its nanoparticle form MoO2 represents a very promising alternative to expensive noble metals for the internal reforming anode of direct Jet-A solid oxide fuel cell and is an important step towards realization of the MEA.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)186-192
Number of pages7
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Aug 2010
Externally publishedYes


  • Hydrogen production
  • Jet fuels
  • Molybdenum dioxide nanoparticles
  • Partial oxidation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Environmental Science
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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