A series of layered birnessite (AMn4
) catalysts containing different alkali cations (A = H+
, or Cs+
) was synthesized. The materials were thoroughly characterized using X-ray diffraction, X-ray fluorescence, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy, Raman spectroscopy, specific surface area analysis, work function, thermogravimetry/differential scanning calorimetry, and transmission electron microscopy. The catalytic activity in soot combustion in different reaction modes was investigated (tight contact, loose contact, loose contact with NO addition). The activity in the oxidation of light hydrocarbons was evaluated by tests with methane and propane. The obtained results revealed that alkali-promoted manganese oxides are highly catalytically active in oxidative reactions. In soot combustion, the reaction temperature window was shifted by 195 °C, 205 °C, and 90 °C in tight, loose + NO, and loose contact conditions against uncatalyzed oxidation, respectively. The catalysts were similarly active in hydrocarbon combustion, achieving a 40% methane conversion at 600 °C and a total propane conversion at ~450 °C. It was illustrated that the difference in activity between tight and loose contacts can be successfully bridged in the presence of NO due to its facile transformation into NO2
over birnessite. The particular activity of birnessite with H+
cations paves the road for the further development of the active phase, aiming at alternative catalytic systems for efficient soot, light hydrocarbons, and volatile organic compounds removal in the conditions present in combustion engine exhaust gases.
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