6. Hydrodeoxygenation of water-insoluble bio-oil to alkanes using a highly dispersed Pd–Mo catalyst

Duan, H., Dong, J., Gu, X., Peng, Y. K., Chen, W., Issariyakul, T., Myers, W. K., Li, M. J., Yi, N., Kilpatrick, A. F. R., Wang, Y., Zheng, X., Ji, S., Wang, Q., Feng, J., Chen, D., Li, Y., Buffet, J. C., Liu, H., Tsang, S. C. E. & O’Hare, D.*
Nat Commun 2017, 8 (1), 591.
DOI: 10.1038/s41467-017-00596-3

Bio-oil, produced by the destructive distillation of cheap and renewable lignocellulosic biomass, contains high energy density oligomers in the water-insoluble fraction that can be utilized for diesel and valuable fine chemicals productions. Here, we show an efficient hydrodeoxygenation catalyst that combines highly dispersed palladium and ultrafine molybdenum phosphate nanoparticles on silica. Using phenol as a model substrate this catalyst is 100% effective and 97.5% selective for hydrodeoxygenation to cyclohexane under mild conditions in a batch reaction; this catalyst also demonstrates regeneration ability in long-term continuous flow tests. Detailed investigations into the nature of the catalyst show that it combines hydrogenation activity of Pd and high density of both Brønsted and Lewis acid sites; we believe these are key features for efficient catalytic hydrodeoxygenation behavior. Using a wood and bark-derived feedstock, this catalyst performs hydrodeoxygenation of lignin, cellulose, and hemicellulose-derived oligomers into liquid alkanes with high efficiency and yield.