Efficient low-temperature hydrogenation of fatty acids to fatty alcohols and alkanes on a Ni-Re bimetallic catalyst : the crucial role of NiRe alloys

Cao, Xincheng and Zhao, Jiaping and Long, Feng and Liu, Peng and Jiang, Xia and Zhang, Xiaolei and Xu, Junming and Jiang, Jianchun (2022) Efficient low-temperature hydrogenation of fatty acids to fatty alcohols and alkanes on a Ni-Re bimetallic catalyst : the crucial role of NiRe alloys. Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 312. 121437. ISSN 0926-3373 (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.apcatb.2022.121437)

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Abstract

Selective hydrogenation of fatty acids is important for production of sustainable fuels and valuable chemicals as well as for the utilization of natural oils and fats. Generally, high reaction temperature (>200 °C) is required due to the weak polarizability and low reactivity of the carbonyl group of fatty acids. Here, we report an efficient catalytic system (Ni-Re/SBA-15 bimetallic catalyst) that realizes the low-temperature conversion of fatty acids to corresponding alcohols (reaction temperature: 150 °C) and diesel-range alkanes (170 °C) with high yields, surpassing the catalytic performance rendered by most of the catalytic systems reported so far. Detailed investigation into the nature of the catalyst showed that the superior activity originated from the formation of NiRe alloy, which improved the dispersion of metallic Ni, the H2 activation ability and promoted the fatty acids/alcohols adsorption on the catalyst surface at low temperatures. More importantly, due to its strong electrophilicity, the fatty acids with highly electronegative carbonyl oxygen can be preferentially adsorbed on the catalyst surface than the fatty alcohols, which leads fatty acids to be converted preferentially. In this way, high catalytic efficiency and fatty alcohol selectivity can be obtained at a low temperature (150 °C). Further increasing reaction temperature to 170 °C, the reactant can be hydrodeoxygenated to form diesel-range alkanes. This developed NiRe/SBA-15 catalytic system highlights a great prospect for production of valuable fatty alcohols and alkanes from the conversion of bioderived fatty acids under mild conditions.

ORCID iDs

Cao, Xincheng, Zhao, Jiaping, Long, Feng, Liu, Peng, Jiang, Xia, Zhang, Xiaolei ORCID logoORCID: https://orcid.org/0000-0001-9415-3136, Xu, Junming and Jiang, Jianchun;