The MONACAT project (Magnetism and Optics for Nanoparticle Catalysis) is addressing the challenge of the chemical storage of the non-permanent energies. The purpose is to design and synthesize nano-objects presenting both physical and chemical properties allowing them to catalytically transform carbon monoxides with an optimal energy efficiency. This project follows up more than 20 years of research on organometallic anoparticles in Toulouse and takes support from the originality of LPCNO, the laboratory which combines both teams of physicists to the magnetism and optics and teams of chemists dedicated to catalysis. The project will focus on two families of particles, i.e., magnetic particles and particles presenting optical ("plasmonic") properties. In both cases these physical properties will allow them to heat up a catalyst layer coating the particle surface, either by magnetic flux density, or by being exposed to a light source. The material of choice will be iron carbide for the magnetic particles and gold or silver for the plasmonic particles, while the surface catalytic layer will be cobalt, nickel or ruthenium. The advantage of the process is the limitation of the heating in the catalytic particle and the dynamics of the temperature rise of the catalyst (less than 1 millisecond). These particles will be used at first to convert carbon dioxide in methane, an immediately storable or usable gas in the existing town-gas distribution networks. Then we will focus on the synthesis of the methanol, which can be used both in fuel cells and as feedsotck for the synthesis of fuels.
In summary, this 5-year project will allow accessing new complex nano-objects and to new more energy-efficient catalytic processes.