CH4 and H2S reforming to CH3SH and H2 catalyzed by metal-promoted Mo6S8 clusters: a first-principles micro-kinetic study†
Direct processing of sour, e.g. containing large amounts of acidic H2S and/or CO2 molecules, natural gas is of direct interest as vast amounts of it are available and accessible but are underutilized. While sour natural gas is still treated using energy-intensive amine absorption/desorption, here we propose and describe a first step in catalytically producing a value added chemical and energy carrier, CH3SH and H2, respectively. For this purpose, we performed Density Functional Theory (DFT) and microkinetic modelling of CH4 and H2S reaction pathways to form CH3SH and H2 as a first step in elucidating complex yet not explored pathways in oxygen-free sour gas reforming. For this purpose, we utilized bare unpromoted and K- or Ni-promoted Mo6S8 clusters. CH4 dissociation was found to be the rate-determining step above 1100 K on Ni-promoted Mo6S8 while H2 formation was the rate-determining step on the bare and K-promoted Mo6S8. At lower reaction temperatures between 800 and 1100 K, CH3SH formation becomes an important step, especially on Ni–Mo6S8. This method presents an interesting route of direct catalytic sour natural gas processing which potentially leads to high-value hydrocarbons, such as ethylene, using CH3SH as a reactive intermediate.