(678f) Upgrading Glycerol Via Selective Hydrodeoxygenation Reaction on Copper-Modified Molybdenum Carbide and Nitride Surfaces

Lin, Z., Columbia University
Denny, S. R., Columbia University
Wan, W., Columbia University
Ammal, S. C., University of South Carolina
You, K. E., University of South Carolina
Chen, J. G., Columbia University
Heyden, A., University of South Carolina
Biodiesel production is a promising approach to address the current environmental issues and reduce our reliance on fossil fuels. During biodiesel production, a significant amount of glycerol is produced. As the production of biodiesel increases, a large surplus of glycerol is generated. Therefore, the upgrading of glycerol can largely benefit the process economy. Among the various pathways for glycerol upgrading, the selective hydrodeoxygentation (HDO) reaction is particularly interesting, in that different numbers of C-O bond of glycerol can be cleaved to form value-added products.1 In this work, the active sites on the Cu/Mo2C surface for selectively cleaving certain numbers of C-O bond of glycerol were revealed, demonstrating the feasibility of tuning product selectivity by simply changing the Cu coverage.2 Since carbon tends to accumulate on the Mo2C surface during the carburization process, molybdenum nitride (Mo2N) was identified as an alternative for Mo2C. The extra surface nitrogen species during the reaction of Mo with NH3 can desorb as N2, leaving a clean surface for better interaction between Cu modifier and Mo. Compared to Mo2C and Cu/Mo2C, Mo2N and Cu/Mo2N show similar activities with added functionalities. This work develops a fundamental understanding of Cu-modified carbide and nitride surfaces, which should in turn provide insights into the rational design of efficient catalysts for the selective HDO reaction of biomass-derived oxygenates.


  1. Z. Lin, R. Chen, Z. Qu and J. G. Chen, Green Chem., 2018, 20, 2679–2696.
  2. W. Wan, S. C. Ammal, Z. Lin, K.-E. You, A. Heyden and J. G. Chen, Nat. Commun., 2018, 9, 4612.