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Hydrogenolysis of Glycerol to Propanediols Over Highly Active Ru–Re Bimetallic Catalysts

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Several supported Ru–Re bimetallic catalysts (Ru–Re/SiO2, Ru–Re/ZrO2, Ru–Re/TiO2, Ru–Re/H-β, Ru–Re/H–ZSM5) and Ru monometallic catalysts (Ru/SiO2, Ru/ZrO2, Ru/TiO2, Ru/H-β, Ru/H–ZSM5) were prepared and their catalytic performances were evaluated in the hydrogenolysis of glycerol to propanediols (1,2-propanediol and 1,3-propanediol) with a batch type reactor (autoclave) under the reaction conditions of 160 °C, 8.0 MPa and 8 h. Compared with Ru monometallic catalysts, the Ru–Re bimetallic catalysts showed much higher activity in the hydrogenolysis of glycerol, and Re exhibited obvious promoting effect on the performance of the catalysts. The supported Ru monometallic catalysts and Ru–Re bimetallic catalysts were characterized by N2 adsorption/desorption, XRD, TEM-EDX, H2-TPR and CO chemisorption for obtaining some physicochemical properties of the catalysts, such as specific surface areas, crystal phases, morphologies/microstructure, reduction behaviors and dispersion of Ru metal. The results of XRD and CO chemisorption indicate that the addition of Re component could improve the dispersion of Ru species on supports. The measurements of H2-TPR revealed that the coexistence of Re and Ru components on supports changed the respective reduction behavior of Re or Ru alone on the supports, indicating the existence of synergistic effect between Ru and Re species on the bimetallic catalysts. The hydrogenolysis of some products (such as 1,2-propanediol, 1,3-propanediol, 1-propanol and 2-propanol) were also examined over Ru and Ru–Re catalysts for evaluating influence of Re–Re on the reaction routes during glycerol hydrogenolysis. The results showed that over Ru–Re catalysts, glycerol was favorable to be converted to 1,2-propanediol, but not favorable to ethylene glycol, while 1,2-propanediol and 1,3-propanediol were favorable to be converted to 1-propanol. The influence of glycerol concentration in its aqueous solution on the catalytic performance was also evaluated over Ru and Ru–Re catalysts.

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This work is supported by the Analytical Foundation of Tsinghua University, China. Authors are grateful of Mr. Zhanping Li for his discussion and advice on XPS measurements.

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Correspondence to Dehua He.

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Ma, L., He, D. Hydrogenolysis of Glycerol to Propanediols Over Highly Active Ru–Re Bimetallic Catalysts. Top Catal 52, 834–844 (2009).

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  • Glycerol
  • Hydrogenolysis
  • Ru–Re bimetallic catalyst
  • Re promoting effect