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Catalysts for Improved Fuels

Fast particle measurement over a wide size range

In Shell’s laboratory in Amsterdam a Horiba LA-950 laser particle analyzer is placed next to a CAMSIZER from Retsch Technology. “Particle size analysis is indispensable for the development of new catalysts”, says Marije Nijkamp, project manager of the department Catalyst Technology at Shell Global Solutions. She is responsible for the development of new catalysts
to produce improved fuels from natural gas. In addition to a good catalyst a good support material is also necessary to which the catalyst is attached. If the particle size of the support is different, this can affect the activity, stability and selectivity of the
catalyst. Therefore, the researchers analyze the particle size of the support material very accurately. Marije Nijkamp was looking for an instrument which measures particle size quickly, reliably and with high reproducibility while being easy to operate. The
existing particle analyzers didn’t work satisfactorily, especially the reproducibility of the analyses was a problem. This was due to the rather laborious sample preparation which each researcher handled slightly differently. It soon became clear that only a laser diffraction particle size analyzer would be suitable as these instruments have the widest measuring range. Moreover, the time factor is very important for Shell as the analysis is the basis for subsequent experiments. Therefore, sample preparation should not take up too much time.

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