Control of selectivity, activity and durability of simple supported nickel catalysts for hydrolytic hydrogenation of cellulose†
Efficient conversion of cellulose to sorbitol and mannitol by base metal catalysts is a challenge in green and sustainable chemistry, but typical supported base metal catalysts have not given good yields of hexitols or possessed durability. In this study, it has been demonstrated that a simple carbon-supported Ni catalyst affords up to 67% yield of hexitols in the conversion of cellulose, and that the catalyst is durable in the reuse experiments 7 times. In addition, the catalyst can be separated by a magnet thanks to a high content of Ni. Physicochemical analysis has indicated that the use of carbon supports has two benefits: no basicity and high water-tolerance. CeO2, ZrO2, γ-Al2O3 and TiO2 cause side-reactions due to basicity, and SiO2, γ-Al2O3 and CeO2 are less stable in hot water. Another important factor is high Ni loading as the increase of Ni content from 10 wt% to 70 wt% significantly improves the yield of hexitols and the durability of catalysts. Larger crystalline Ni particles are more resistant to sintering of Ni and surface coverage by Ni oxide species.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Conversion of biomass with heterogeneous catalysts