Catalysis Today, Vol.296, 26-34, 2017
Bio-propylene glycol by liquid phase hydrogenolysis of glycerol with Ni/SiO2-C catalysts
The development of catalytic materials, hydrothermally stable and selective to the desired products, is still a challenge. The aim of the present work is to prepare a nickel catalyst with a metal loading of 5 wt% Ni supported on a SiO2-C composite, to be used in the liquid-phase glycerol hydrogenolysis reaction. The most active and selective catalyst to 1,2-propylene glycol (1,2-PG) was Ni/SC-095, which presented surface acidity fundamentally represented by the presence of carboxylic groups which promoted the C-O cleavage reactions of the glycerol primary carbon to produce acetol, and subsequently by hydrogenation to produce 1,2-PG. Concerning the selection of operating conditions, the influence of the most relevant variables of the process were analyzed, i.e., temperature (220-260 degrees C), glycerol concentration (30-65%), and hydrogen partial pressure (0-4 MPa). The best result was obtained at 260 degrees C with 30 wt% glycerol, 6 h on reaction and a hydrogen partial pressure of 2 MPa. Under these conditions, selectivities of 77% towards 1,2-PG and 3% to acetol were obtained, with 56% of conversion. It was demonstrated that there are no important structural changes through the characterization of the used samples. Both the SC-095 support and the Ni/SC-095 catalyst maintained their BET surface area. By XRD and TEM, there could be a slight increase in particle size, which would indicate good resistance to sintering against the severe hydrothermal conditions of this reaction.