Molybdenum oxide and sulfide active sites for isobutane dehydrogenation with methanol as a probe molecule

Emily Cheng, Justin Notestein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Molybdenum oxides and sulfides are alternative catalysts for several reactions, including alkane dehydrogenation. Correlations have been developed between reactivity and structure, but it is difficult to compare different catalysts without determining numbers of active sites. Here, methanol temperature programmed surface reaction (TPSR) is applied to bulk MoS2 and a series of supported molybdenum oxides and sulfides used for isobutane dehydrogenation. Rates and deactivation behavior are similar between supported molybdenum oxides and sulfides. Coking increases with loading and correlates well with the fraction of Mo-based CO2-forming sites from methanol TPSR. Normalizing isobutane dehydrogenation rates by formaldehyde-forming sites unifies rates over oxide and sulfide materials. These measurements confirm earlier hypotheses that MoS2 and higher loadings of oxides and sulfides are intrinsically fast catalysts, but they have few active sites and are prone to coking. In general, methanol TPSR is proposed as an accessible route to count sites on both supported oxides and sulfides.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)498-508
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Catalysis
StatePublished - Sep 2022


  • Isobutane dehydrogenation
  • Metal oxides and sulfides
  • Methanol TPSR
  • MoO
  • MoS

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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