(730h) A Full Furfural Utilization over Ni/SiO2 Catalysts

Authors: 
Yang, S. C., Georgia Tech
Lin, S. D., National Taiwan Universty of Science and Technology
Furfural can be mass-produced from lignocellulose biomass and can be a platform chemical for producing valuable chemicals. In this study, we examine Ni/SiO2 catalysts for the conversion of furfural under a hydrogen atmosphere. The reaction products include furfuryl alcohol (FA), furan, and propylene as major; butanal and other hydrogenated products, indicating the reaction routes involving side chain hydrogenation, decarbonylation, and ring opening. The reactivity and the product selectivity depend on the reaction temperature and the Ni particle size. The pretreatment by including calcination prior to hydrogen reduction leads to Ni/SiO2–CR with large Ni particles (~ 15 nm) and a high selectivity to FA at below 200 oC. The Ni/SiO2–R is hydrogen-pretreated without the calcination and it contains small Ni particles (~ 5 nm) and exhibits relatively high selectivity to furan. Moreover, the furan can be reacted seriously to produce propylene and CO by this Ni catalyst. The turnover frequency (TOF) of furfural conversion is 239 and 408 h-1, respectively, on Ni/SiO2-CR and Ni/SiO2-R at 175 oC, when the former shows 100% selectivity to FA and the latter exhibits a selectivity of around 38% and 62%, to FA and furan, respectively. The results indicate that the furfural hydrotreating reaction over Ni catalysts is with structure sensitive and give a full furfural utilization, either to FA (a biofuel), or to propylene and CO (a chemical feedstock).