A monolithic vanadia–titania based catalyst has been subjected to studies with in situ FTIR spectroscopy coupled with mass spectrometry, during the SCR (Selective Catalytic Reduction) reaction. A device based on a transmission reactor cell for monolithic samples was constructed, dedicated to the study of surface species during reaction. After analysing the steady state SCR activity under industrially relevant conditions, NH3 chemisorption phenomena as a function of temperature and the subsequent SCR reaction of NO + O2 with chemisorbed ammonia and ammonium ion species were also investigated. The observations reported here serve as a demonstration of the great potential for the application of operando spectroscopy on monolithic systems. This cross disciplinary approach aims to identify reaction pathways, active sites, intermediate- and spectator-species for catalytic reactions under truly industrial conditions in a shaped monolithic catalyst based on monitoring chemical profiles along its channels. In particular, by demonstrating the feasibility of the approach using the technically challenging operando transmission FTIR spectroscopy methodology, we foresee easy future adaption of this approach with other surface or bulk sensitive techniques, e.g. Raman and UV-vis spectroscopy.
Physical Chemistry Chemical Physics, 2012, Vol 14, Issue 7, p. 2171-2177