Low temperature (<500 K) methane steam reforming in an electric field was investigated over various catalysts. To elucidate the factors governing catalytic activity, activity tests and various characterization methods were conducted over various oxides including CeO2, Nb2O5, and Ta2O5 as supports. Activities of Pd catalysts loaded on these oxides showed the order of CeO2 > Nb2O5 > Ta2O5. Surface proton conductivity has a key role for the activation of methane in an electric field. Proton hopping ability on the oxide surface was estimated using electrochemical impedance measurements. Proton transport ability on the oxide surface at 473 K was in the order of CeO2 > Nb2O5 > Ta2O5. The OH group amounts on the oxide surface were evaluated by measuring pyridine adsorption with and without H2O pretreatment. Results indicate that the surface OH group concentrations on the oxide surface were in the order of CeO2 > Nb2O5 > Ta2O5. These results demonstrate that the surface concentrations of OH groups are related to the proton hopping ability on the oxide surface. The concentrations reflect the catalytic activity of low-temperature methane steam reforming in the electric field.
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