A study to initiate development of sustainable Ni/γ-Al2O3 catalyst for hydrogen production from steam reforming of biomass-derived glycerol
Glycerol steam reforming, which is a potential technology for hydrogen production in fuel-cell applications, is of great interest to researchers in recent years. Using aqueous glycerol, which is a byproduct in biodiesel production, as a direct feed for steam reforming is a promising method to produce hydrogen. Ni (5, 10, 15, 20 and 25 wt%) loaded on commercial γ-Al2O3 by the impregnation method is used to study steam reforming of glycerol. The catalyst was characterized by XRD, EDAX, BET surface area, TPR, NH3-TPD, TEM, CHNS and Raman techniques. The catalysts are evaluated on time streams for the effect of Ni loading, temperature, and glycerol-to-water mole ratio (GWMRs). Under the parameters investigated, 15 wt% Ni/γ-Al2O3 was found to be the most promising catalyst in terms of glycerol conversion and hydrogen production with minimum coking. The characterization of the catalysts clearly establishes that interaction of Ni2+ with γ-Al2O3 support, Ni2+ reducibility, particle size, and acidity of the support are seen governing the stable activity of the catalysts. Thus, a structural activity correlation has been established on the Ni/γ-Al2O3 catalysts.