Nickel on nitrogen-doped carbon pellets for continuous-flow hydrogenation of biomass-derived compounds in water†
Hydrogenation reactions in water at elevated temperatures are challenging for heterogeneous catalysts. Thus, we present a simple, cheap, scalable, and sustainable approach for synthesizing an efficient and stable Ni catalyst supported on highly porous nitrogen-doped carbon (NDC) in pellet form. The performance of this catalyst was evaluated in the aqueous-phase hydrogenation of lignocellulosic biomass-derived compounds, i.e., glucose (Glu), xylose (Xyl), and vanillin (V), using a continuous-flow system. The as-prepared 35 wt% Ni on NDC catalyst exhibited a high catalytic performance in all three aqueous-phase hydrogenation reactions, i.e., the conversion of Glu, Xyl, and V was 96.3 mol%, 85 mol%, and 100 mol% and the yield of sorbitol (Sor), xylitol (Xyt), and 2-methoxy-4-methylphenol (MMP) was 82 mol%, 62 mol%, and 100 mol%, respectively. This high activity was attributed to the high specific surface area of NDC and mainly to the heterojunction effects stabilizing and adjusting the homogenously and highly dispersed Ni nanoparticles (ANi = 20 m2 g−1) on the surface of NDC. Changing the electron density in the nickel nanoparticles allows the high performance of the catalyst for a long time on stream (40 h) with minimized Ni leaching and without the loss in catalytic performance.
- This article is part of the themed collection: International Symposium on Green Chemistry 2019