Ni-CeO2, Ni-ZrO2 and Ni-Ce0.8Zr0.2O2 catalysts have been prepared by a co-precipitation method to develop catalysts suitable for synthesis gas production for gas to liquid (GTL) process. A conventional impregnation method was also employed to prepare Ni/CeO2, Ni/ZrO2 and Ni/Ce0.8Zr0.2O2 catalysts to compare the impregnated catalysts with the co-precipitated ones. Ni content was fixed at 15% for both cases. It has been confirmed that the co-precipitated Ni-CeO2 and Ni-Ce0.8Zr0.2O2 catalysts exhibited relatively high activity as well as stability, while the impregnated Ni/CeO2 and Ni/Ce0.8Zr0.2O2 catalysts slowly deactivated with time on stream at 800 °C. At the temperature range from 700 to 750 °C, co-precipitated Ni-Ce0.8Zr0.2O2 catalyst showed higher CH4 and CO2 conversion than Ni-CeO2 catalyst. The enhanced catalytic activity and stability of the co-precipitated Ni-Ce0.8Zr0.2O2 catalyst is due to the combination of nano-crystalline nature of cubic Ce0.8Zr0.2O2 support and finely dispersed nano-sized NiO crystallites resulting in intimate contact between Ni and support, better Ni dispersion, and enhanced oxygen transfer during the reaction.
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