The formation and reactions of hydrogen cyanide during isobutane-SCR over Fe-MFI catalysts

Irene O Y Liu, Noel W. Cant*

*Corresponding author for this work

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    10 Citations (Scopus)


    The extent to which HCN is produced as a significant product during isobutane-SCR over Fe-MFI catalysts has been investigated together with its origin and further conversion. Catalysts made by both vapor-phase sublimation and solid-state ion exchange can produce well over 100-ppm HCN, which is a major intermediate for N2 production, but the peak concentration is less with the former material due to a higher oxidation activity. HCN production is confined to temperatures giving partial conversion of isobutane, when deposited material suppresses the very high intrinsic activity of Fe-MFI for the further conversion of HCN to N2, largely via hydrolysis to ammonia and NH3-SCR. Activity for the oxidation of NO to NO2 is similarly suppressed. This oxidation step is likely to be the rate determining one in isobutane-SCR rather than the activation of the alkane since there is no deuterium kinetic isotope effect. Decomposition of isobutyronitrile, formed by dehydration of a primary nitroso species via its oxime tautomer, is a possible source of HCN. This decomposition gives propene as a coproduct, which reacts completely during isobutane-SCR and may also be a source of deposits through oligomerization. Secondary and tertiary nitroso intermediates cannot react in this way and, based on the reactions of nitroanalogues, are more likely to undergo elimination to form alkenes. The overall effect is to convert alkane-SCR to SCR with alkenes containing the same number or one less carbon atom.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)191-202
    Number of pages12
    JournalCatalysis Surveys from Asia
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - Dec 2003


    • Fe-MFI
    • Hydrogen cyanide
    • Isobutane-SCR
    • Isobutyronitrile


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