Reduced mixed metal oxides for the hydrogenation, hydrogenolysis, and ring-opening of furanics
Sulmonetti, Taylor Phillip
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The demand for energy and chemicals derived from petroleum continues to increase due to the rise in the global population and quality of life. As a result, it is important to find new alternatives to supplement petroleum resources to increase sustainability and reduce risk in the energy and chemical markets. Lignocellulosic biomass (2nd generation biomass) has been identified as a promising renewable resource since it is inedible, more abundant, and cheaper component of biomass. Significant progress in the field of catalysis has been made regarding upstream lignocellulose processing (breaking down the oligomeric molecules to platform chemicals), while downstream catalytic processing to create value-added products requires improvements. Consequently, the aim of this dissertation was to investigate the conversion of furanics, which have been identified as top platform molecules derived from hemicellulose, into value-added products. Specifically, it was sought to develop heterogeneous, multi-metal catalysts without precious metal additions to selectively and actively convert furanics to reduce downstream separation and catalysts costs. It was identified that tunable, versatile, thermally stable, and porous multi-metal catalysts could be easily synthesized through the thermal treatment of layered double hydroxides (LDHs) to yield mixed metal oxides (MMOs). Through this synthesis method various multi-metal catalysts were created, such as Ni-Co-Al, Co-Fe-Al, and Cu-Co-Al, and studied for the hydrogenation, hydrogenolysis, and ring-opening of furanics, respectively. In addition to producing promising yields to fuel additives and plastic precursors, multiple characterization techniques were employed to gain a better understanding of the complex multi-metal materials in hopes to make catalytic improvements in the future.