Nickel-based catalysts, supported on diatomite, silica gel and perlite, with high nickel loadings, have been prepared by precipitation-deposition method. Various nickel precursor salts were used for the preparation of catalyst precursors. In the precursor state, the catalysts were characterized using nitrogen physisorption, mercury porosimetry, infrared, and X-ray diffraction spectroscopy. The reducibility of catalyst precursors was evaluated using hydrogen temperature programmed reduction. Hydrogen chemisorption and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy measurements were performed with the aim of characterizing the chemical state of the catalyst precursors. This research was focused on the study of some major factors on the state, dispersion and reducibility of a deposited Ni2+ phase by the combined use of mentioned experimental techniques. We have examined the influence of the nature of support and the use of modifiers on activity of nickel-based catalysts in the partial hydrogenation of sunflower and soybean oils. Nitrogen physisorption and mercury porosimetry data showed that synthesis operating conditions and pore structure of supports have a profound effect on the textural properties of catalyst precursors. The analysis of infrared and X-ray diffraction spectra showed the existence of chemical species and phases which indicate the different extent of interaction between the support and the active metal. Temperature programmed reduction study revealed that the reduction features depend on the identity of the nickel precursor salt and its interaction with the support. A stronger interaction of the supported Ni2+ phase with support hinders the reduction of catalyst precursors. Hydrogen chemisorption results showed the presence of nickel crystallites varying from 5 to 47 nm in size. The X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy data confirmed the formation surface species with different strength of interaction and different nickel crystallite sizes. The hydrogenation results showed significant differences, depending on the support and the modifier, as well as structural characteristics of reduced catalyst precursors. The results show the importance of modifiers in the control of the activity and selectivity of the partial hydrogenation process. The developed kinetic models of the hydrogenation of soybean and sunflower oils over studied catalytic systems were found useful in the prediction of the rate of reactions, product selectivity and catalytic activity.
Part of the book: New Advances in Hydrogenation Processes