Catalytic hydroprocessing of fatty acid methyl esters to renewable alkane fuels over Ni/HZSM-5 catalyst
•Different ratios of Si/Al of the catalysts impacted hydroisomerization of FAMEs.•Alkane selectivity was optimal in Si/Al = 25, 280 °C, 0.8 MPa, LHSV = 4 h−1, H2/oil = 15.•88.2% of C5–C18 alkanes = 8% gasoline alkane + 32.5% jet alkane + 47.7% diesel alkane.•Decarboxylation/decarbonylation was favored at high temperature, low H2 pressure.•The catalyst can run 80 h and was caused deactivation by the carbon deposition.
A series of Ni/HZSM-5 catalysts with different Ni loading and Si/Al ratios were prepared by incipient wetness impregnation. The physicochemical properties of the catalysts were investigated by X-ray diffraction (XRD), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), transmission electron microscopy (TEM), N2-adsorption, temperature-programmed desorption of ammonia (NH3-TPD), and thermogravimetric (TG) analysis. Moreover, their catalytic performance was investigated for the hydroprocessing of long-chain unsaturated fatty acid methyl esters (FAMEs) to renewable alkane fuels using a high-pressure fixed bed reactor system with a facility for online analysis. The different Ni loading and Si/Al ratios of the catalysts, as well as the influence of reaction conditions such as temperature, pressure, H2/oil molar ratio, and liquid hourly space velocity (LHSV), were studied in detail. The NiO aggregates dispersed on the surface of the support clearly increased the acidity after H2 reduction, thus significantly affecting the catalytic performance. Temperature and pressure played crucial roles in the conversion of FAMEs and selectivity for gasoline or jet or diesel alkane. Hydroprocessing over 10 wt% Ni/HZSM-5 (Si/Al = 25) at 280 °C, a H2 pressure of 0.8 MPa, an LHSV of 4 h−1, and with a highly purified H2/oil molar ratio of 15 led to a high selectivity of 88.2% for C5–C18 liquid alkanes, which includes 8% of gasoline alkane, 32.5% of jet alkane and 47.7% of diesel alkane, along with appropriate isomerization selectivity of 27.0%, while the conversion of FAME reached 85.1%. To demonstrate the potential of this catalyst for practical applications, its stability in the hydroprocessing of FAMEs was also investigated. The conversion of FAMEs decreased to 30.1% over 10 wt% Ni/HZSM-5 (Si/Al = 25) after operation for 80 h. Catalyst deactivation was predominantly caused by the deposition of carbon which causes blockage of the pores for FAMEs as evidence from TG analysis.
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Journal: Catalysis Today - Volume 259, Part 2, 1 January 2016, Pages 266–276