Critical dehydrogenation steps of perhydro-N-ethylcarbazole on Ru(0001) surface

CG Tang and P Permude and SX Fei and TJ Frankcombe and SC Smith and Y Liu, COMPUTATIONAL MATERIALS SCIENCE, 229, 112373 (2023).

DOI: 10.1016/j.commatsci.2023.112373

Understanding of the critical atomistic steps during the dehydrogenation process of liquid organic hydrogen carriers (LOHCs) is important to the design of cost-efficient, high-performance LOHC catalysts. Based on the density functional theory (DFT) we studied the thermodynamics and kinetics of the complete dehydrogenation path of perhydro-N- ethylcarbazole (12H-NEC) on Ru(0001) surface, involving the adsorption of 12H-NEC, the discharge of H ions onto Ru surface, and the desorption of H2 and hydrogen-lean NEC. It was found that the bonding of nH-NEC is significantly strengthened for n & LE; 4 because of the flat aromatic ring. Although the whole dehydrogenation process is endothermic, the release of H from nH-NEC, with H adsorbed onto the Ru surface, was found to be exothermic. The desorption of flat, hydrogen-lean NEC, which costs & SIM;255 kJ/mol, was identified as the most energy demanding step. In addition, the effect of surface morphology on adsorption was studied based on an amorphous surface model. Overall, the results imply more efficient dehydrogenation could be achieved from relatively weak bonding of NEC to catalysts, either through engineering catalyst surface (such as surface defects or smaller catalyst particles) or different catalyst materials. Our calculations also revealed possible dealkylation at elevated temperatures.

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