MgO-clay nanocomposites were prepared from a synthetic smectite-type clay, TS, using three different non-ionic surfactants (Igepal CA-720, Brij 30 and Brij 56) and the resulting clay nanocomposites were impregnated with Ni for the methane reforming reaction with carbon dioxide to synthesis gas. A Ni/TS catalyst was also prepared for comparison. The prepared supports and catalysts were characterized by X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, thermogravimetric analysis and N2 adsorption/desorption isotherms. The thermal stability, pore structure and the surface area strongly influence the catalytic behavior of the catalysts. The methane conversions (at 700°C for 4 h) were 91, 95 and 97% for Ni/TSIGE, Ni/TSBR30 and Ni/TSBR56, respectively, indicating that the surface properties and the catalytic performance of the resulting solids slightly improved as the polyethylene oxide number of the surfactant increased. A reduced conversion (10%) and a rapid deactivation was observed in the Ni/TS catalyst, attributed to its Na content and low thermal stability, which led to sintering and coke deposition.

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