The disclosure provides an oxygen carrier comprised of a plurality of metal oxide particles in contact with a plurality of MgO promoter particles. The MgO promoter particles increase the reaction rate and oxygen utilization of the metal oxide when contacting with a gaseous hydrocarbon at a temperature greater than about 725.degree. C. The promoted oxide solid is generally comprised of less than about 25 wt. % MgO, and may be prepared by physical mixing, incipient wetness impregnation, or other methods known in the art. The oxygen carrier exhibits a crystalline structure of the metal oxide and a crystalline structure of MgO under XRD crystallography, and retains these crystalline structures over subsequent redox cycles. In an embodiment, the metal oxide is Fe.sub.2O.sub.3, and the gaseous hydrocarbon is comprised of methane.
The United States Government has rights in this invention pursuant to the employer-employee relationship of the Government to the inventors as U.S. Department of Energy employees and site-support contractors at the National Energy Technology Laboratory.