Towards biolubricant compatible vegetable oils by pore mouth hydrogenation with shape-selective Pt/ZSM-5 catalysts
Pt/ZSM-5 catalysts with various crystal sizes were prepared via competitive ion-exchange, followed by a slow activation procedure. Even when using very large ZSM-5 crystals, highly dispersed Pt nano-clusters were contained within the zeolite crystal's voids, as ascertained by 2D pressure-jump IR spectroscopy of adsorbed CO and focussed ion-beam transmission electron microscopy. The shape-selective properties of the Pt/ZSM-5 catalysts were evaluated in the partial hydrogenation of soybean oil. Unique hydrogenation selectivities were observed, as the fatty acids located at the central position of the triacylglycerol (TAG) molecules were preferentially hydrogenated. The resulting oil has therefore high levels of intermediately melting TAGs, which are compatible with biolubricants due to their improved oxidative stability and still appropriate low-temperature fluidity. The TAG distribution in the partially hydrogenated soybean oil samples was independent from the zeolite crystal size, while the hydrogenation activity linearly increases with the crystal's external surface area. This trend was confirmed with a Pt loaded mesoporous ZSM-5 zeolite, obtained via a mild alkaline treatment. These observations imply and confirm a genuine pore mouth catalysis mechanism, in which only one fatty acid chain of the TAG is able to enter the micropores of ZSM-5, where the double bonds are hydrogenated by the crystal encapsulated Pt-clusters.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Catalysis on Zeolites