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Correlation of the catalytic performance with Nb2O5 surface properties in the hydrodeoxygenation of lignin model compound

Xin, Yu, Dong, Lin, Guo, Yong, Liu, Xiaohui, Hu, Yongfeng, Wang, Yanqin
Journal of catalysis 2019 v.375 pp. 202-212
catalysts, catalytic activity, colloids, feedstocks, lignin, toluene
Production of aromatic hydrocarbons through lignin hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) is of significant importance. Previously, we found that Ru/Nb2O5 was an excellent catalyst for the conversion of lignin to arenes with relatively high selectivity (71%). Herein, we aim to clarify which properties of Nb2O5 influence the activity and selectivity. Four Ru/Nb2O5 catalysts with different Nb2O5 morphologies were used in the HDO of 4-methylphenol. Intensive studies show that layered Nb2O5 supported Ru has more NbO groups (unsaturated NbOx sites) and highest Ru dispersion, which led to the highest activity and toluene selectivity, this was further confirmed by loading pre-synthesized Ru colloids in various Nb2O5. Finally, a Ru/Nb2O5 catalyst with more unsaturated NbO groups was designed and it was found that even with enzymatic lignin as the feedstock, the selectivity to arenes can reach up to 94.8% with the yield of hydrocarbons of 99.6%. This study provides a promising strategy for catalyst design towards the selective production of aromatic hydrocarbons from lignin.