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Physcial Sciences Division
Research Highlights

September 2019

PNNL Solves Decade-Old Mystery in Chemical Transformations

Findings could help researchers develop more energy-efficient industrial processes

Fuel and Fertilizer

Researchers at PNNL have solved a mystery for a chemical reaction essential for fuel and fertilizer production. The so-called water-gas shift reaction forms hydrogen fuel and carbon dioxide from carbon monoxide and steam. The research addresses a fundamental question in the chemical transformations that are accomplished using catalysts, chemicals that help speed up reactions and are used to make thousands of consumer and industrial products.

The discovery, published in the October 2019 issue of Nature Catalysis, addresses a fundamental chicken-or-egg question in catalysis: Do interactions between chemical reactants and the catalyst create an “active site” or does an “active site” already exist within the catalyst? Read more ...

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