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Magnetic catalyst and production process

Heterogeneous catalysisInduction HeatingMagnetic nanoparticlesReforming reactionsRiscaldamento a induzione


The invention relates to a class of supported catalysts, and related synthesis process, in which the active element is a magnetic material, preferably in the form of a nanoparticle, capable of simultaneously catalyzing a chemical process and providing the heat necessary for the chemical reaction by dissipating energy when immersed in an alternating magnetic field.

Technical features

The idea developed aims to reduce the energy consumption associated with catalytic processes by using r. f. electromagnetic induction technology to provide process heat at high temperature. The patent describes the synthesis of supported catalysts whose active element is a magnetic material in the form of nano particles (eg Ni, Co and their alloys) suitably distributed on the support. The nanoparticles are at the same time able to catalyze the process and provide the heat necessary to feed the reaction. The materials conceived and developed by ENEA are able, in a magnetic field generated with a commercial induction oven, to reach 800°C allowing to considerably expand the use of magnetic catalysis, so far limited to isolated examples of medium-low temperature (<450 ° C) reactions, to endothermic industrial processes such as reforming reactions.

Possible Applications

  • Coupling of chemical processes to renewable energy sources in emerging applications (power to gas);
  • Industrial chemical processes catalyzed by Ni and Co;
  • High temperature processes (reforming);
  • Medium-low temperature processes (water gas shift and methanation).


  • Selective heating of the catalyst;
  • Instant heating: possibility of feeding discontinuous processes efficiently without costly heat recovery systems;
  • Shutdown of production processes in a short time with advantages on plant safety;
  • Increased process selectivity.