Design of solid catalysts for biomass upgrading
Schimming, Sarah McNew
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The two main requirements for ceria-zirconia hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) catalysts are the presence of defect sites to bind oxygenates and the ability to adsorb and dissociate hydrogen. Two types of sites were identified for exchange of hydrogen and deuterium. The activation energy for one type of site was associated with H2-D2 exchange through oxygen defect sites. The activation energy for the second type of site was associated with H2-D2 exchange through hydroxyl groups and correlated with crystallite size. Ceria-zirconia can convert guaiacol, a model pyrolysis oil compound, with a high selectivity to phenol, an HDO product. Ceria-zirconia catalysts had a higher conversion of guaiacol to deoxygenated products as well as a higher selectivity towards phenol than pure ceria. They did not deactivate over the course of 72 hours on stream, whereas coking or the presence of water in the feed can cause serious decay of common HDO catalysts HDO. Therefore, ceria-zirconia catalysts are promising HDO catalysts for the first step of deoxygenation. The stability of supported Ru on ZrO2 in acidic or basic environments at reaction temperature is examined. In this study, the ruthenium dispersion is greatly increased by hydrothermal treatment in acidic and basic pH without alterations to the surface area, pore volume, pore size or crystal structure. An increase in Ru dispersion showed an increase in the selectivity to propylene glycol relative to ethylene glycol. A decrease in total Lewis acid site concentration was correlated with a decrease in the ethylene glycol yield. The conclusions of this study indicate that stability of catalysts in realistic industrial environments is crucial to the design of catalysts for a reaction.