Zirconia-Supported Silver Nanoparticles for the Catalytic Combustion of Pollutants Originating from Mobile Sources
This work presents the physicochemical characterization and activity of zirconia-supported silver catalysts for the oxidation of pollutants present in diesel engine exhaust (propane, propene, naphthalene and soot). A series of silver-supported catalysts AgxZ (x = 1, 5 and 10 wt.%, Z = zirconia) were prepared, which were studied by various characterization techniques. The results show that silver is mainly found under the form of small metal nanoparticles (<10 nm) dispersed over the support. The metallic phase coexists with the AgOx oxidic phases. Silver is introduced onto the zirconia, generating Ag–ZrO2 catalysts with high activity for the oxidation of propene and naphthalene. These catalysts also show some activity for soot combustion. Silver species can contribute with zirconia in the catalytic redox cycle, through a synergistic effect, providing sites that facilitate the migration and availability of oxygen, which is favored by the presence of structural defects. This is a novel application of the AgOx–Ag/ZrO2 system in the combustion reaction of propene and naphthalene. The results are highly promising, given that the T50 values found for both model molecules are quite low.