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Title: Confinement Effects on Carbon Dioxide Methanation: A Novel Mechanism for Abiotic Methane Formation

An important scientific debate focuses on the possibility of abiotic synthesis of hydrocarbons during oceanic crust-seawater interactions. While on-site measurements near hydrothermal vents support this possibility, laboratory studies have provided data that are in some cases contradictory. At conditions relevant for sub-surface environments it has been shown that classic thermodynamics favour the production of CO 2 from CH 4, while abiotic methane synthesis would require the opposite. However, confinement effects are known to alter reaction equilibria. This report shows that indeed thermodynamic equilibrium can be shifted towards methane production, suggesting that thermal hydrocarbon synthesis near hydrothermal vents and deeper in the magma-hydrothermal system is possible. We report reactive ensemble Monte Carlo simulations for the CO 2 methanation reaction. We compare the predicted equilibrium composition in the bulk gaseous phase to that expected in the presence of confinement. In the bulk phase we obtain excellent agreement with classic thermodynamic expectations. When the reactants can exchange between bulk and a confined phase our results show strong dependency of the reaction equilibrium conversions, X CO2, on nanopore size, nanopore chemistry, and nanopore morphology. Some physical conditions that could shift significantly the equilibrium composition of the reactive system with respect to bulk observations aremore » discussed.« less
Authors:
 [1] ;  [1] ;  [2] ;  [3]
  1. Univ. College London (United Kingdom)
  2. Univ. of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, AL (United States)
  3. The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States)
Publication Date:
Grant/Contract Number:
SC0006878
Type:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal Issue: 1; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Publisher:
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
The Ohio State Univ., Columbus, OH (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY
OSTI Identifier:
1425460