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Nanoparticle catalysts for high performance methane combustion


Methane, also known as natural gas, is a widely used in power generation and has the advantage of producing lower carbon emissions than coal per unit of energy generated. However, the release of any unburned methane during combustion presents a problem, as methane is a potent greenhouse gas with a heat-trapping effect 20 times greater than carbon dioxide. Enabling more efficient combustion would reduce the risk of releasing unburned methane and would improve the overall efficiency of gas-powered systems. 


A nanoparticle developed at the University of Pennsylvania can make methane combustion more efficient than existing catalysts. Catalytic enhancement of the combustion process using palladium is often limited by the thermal stability of the material, with conventional catalysts eventually breaking down at the 800C temperature required to completely convert all of the methane.

New nanoparticles made from Palladium and Cerium Oxide are combined in solution and dispersed onto alumina to form supramolecular core-shell structures. These catalyst particles were shown to achieve complete methane conversion at 300 degrees cooler than the reference catalysts, producing a catalyst that is more efficient per weight of palladium used than conventional products. 


  • Lower required combustion temperature for complete combustion of methane
  • Longer term durability by avoiding sintering of catalysts
  • Achieves complete combustion with less palladium than conventional catalysts.

Stage of Development: 

Demonstrated in laboratory 

Intellectual Property: 

US Application

Reference Media: 

Desired Partnerships: 

  • License
  • Co-development

Patent Information:


Docket # Y6237 

For Information, Contact:

Joshua Jeanson Associate Director, SEAS/SAS Licensing Group
University of Pennsylvania