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Effects of ZnO on Characteristics and Selectivity of Coprecipitated Ni/ZnO/Al2O3 Catalysts for Partial Hydrogenation of Sunflower Oil

Wong, Farng Hui, Tiong, Timm Joyce, Leong, Loong Kong, Lin, Kuen-Song, Yap, Yeow Hong
Industrial & engineering chemistry process design and development 2018 v.57 no.9 pp. 3163-3174
catalysts, catalytic activity, coprecipitation, crystallites, hydrogenation, nickel, process design, sunflower oil, surface area, trans fatty acids, transmission electron microscopy, zinc, zinc oxide
Ni/ZnO/Al₂O₃ catalysts at different molar ratios were synthesized and characterized, and the catalytic performances were assessed by partial hydrogenation of sunflower oil. Ni:Zn at various molar ratios have resulted in varying degrees of Ni and Zn migration from the bulk to the catalyst surface, which led to different pore characteristics. Catalysts with equimolar Ni:Zn have shown wider pores and higher pore volumes and achieved 23% higher hydrogenation activity than Ni/Al₂O₃. The presence of ZnO also led to higher Ni surface area and dispersion, and TEM images have indicated that this could be attributed to ZnO that acts as a spacer for the Ni crystallites. However, the Ni surface area diminishes as the ZnO content becomes higher. The presence of ZnO in Ni/ZnO/Al₂O₃ catalysts is also shown to lower trans-fats formation when wide pores are available.