Fabrication of Fischer-Tropsch catalysts by deposition of iron nanocrystals on carbon nanotubes

The fabrication of supported catalysts consisting of colloidal iron oxide nanocrystals with tunable size, geometry, and loading – homogeneously dispersed on carbon nanotube (CNT) supports – is described herein. The catalyst synthesis is performed in a two-step approach. First, colloidal iron and iron oxide nanocrystals with a narrow size distribution are produced. Second, the nanocrystals are attached to CNT grains serving as support structure. Important features, like iron loading and nanocrystal density on the CNT support, are controlled by changing the nanocrystal concentration and ligand concentration, respectively. The Fischer-Tropsch performance reveals these new materials to be active, selective toward lower olefins (60% C of hydrocarbons produced in the absence of promoters), and remarkably stable against particle growth.