Date of Award


Document Type

Campus Access Thesis

Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

Michelle Foster

Second Advisor

Jason Evans

Third Advisor

Mariam Ismail


CeO2 has been found to be successful in catalyzing oxidation reactions such as the steam reforming of methanol (SRM) for the production of hydrogen gas as a “green” energy supply for fuel cells. The efficient catalytic ability of CeO2 is owed to its high oxygen storage capacity that facilitates the exchange of oxygen species between the substrate and reactant, which can be enhanced by decorating the surface with noble metals such as Ag. In this study, the mechanism of methanol oxidation on CeO2 was elucidated using Diffuse Reflectance Infrared Fourier Transform Spectroscopy (DRIFTS) by monitoring changes in surface-bound species during methanol exposure and incremental heating. Methanol oxidation on CeO2 was determined to begin with adsorption in the form of monobound and bridged methoxy at room temperature, followed by transformation into bidentate formate upon heating. CeO2 was subsequently enhanced with 1% and 3% Ag to observe the improvement in catalytic activity imparted by the addition of different loading weights of Ag. Production of methoxy and conversion into formate, in addition to the formation of carbonate, were found to occur at room temperature on Ag/CeO2, where faster reactions were observed with a higher loading weight of Ag. A better understanding of methanol oxidation on CeO2 and Ag/CeO2 was obtained, thus providing insight into the design of more efficient catalysts for hydrogen production.


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