1 June 2017
Alessandro Coumans MSc
“Catalytic hydrodeoxygenation of biomass to sustainable fuels”
Promotores: Prof. E. Hensen, Prof. T. Weber (Eindhoven University of Technology)
Summary of thesis
The research work of Alessandro Coumans deals with catalytic methods for the upgrading of biomass into fuels and chemicals. The core of the thesis is an extensive study of hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of model compounds, i.e. methyl oleate, triolein, representing vegetable oils, into diesel-range hydrocarbons. The kinetics of an alumina-supported NiMo-sulfide catalyst were investigated under trickle-flow conditions with a focus on the reaction mechanism, the active sites for the main reactions steps (hydrolysis, hydrodeoxygenation, decarboxylation) and catalyst stability. A study of the support (alumina, silica, silica-alumina, carbon) effect for NiMo sulfide identified carbon as the most suitable support: carbon-supported NiMo-sulfide shows high intrinsic activity and is more stable than alumina- and silica-based catalysts. The periodic trends of first and second row transition metal sulfides and phosphides for the HDO of methyl valerate as a simple model compound were also investigated. A number of transition metal phosphides were investigated as catalysts for the HDO of aromatic oxygenates obtained from lignin.