Green diesel production via hydrodeoxygenation of triglycerides

Authors: Afshar Taromi, Arsia
Advisor: Kaliaguine, S.
Abstract: Owing to environmental issues concerning fossil fuels usage which increase the greenhouse gas emissions and cause climate change, and to satisfy the global need for sustainable fuels and overcome possible energy crisis much attention is devoted to the finding of sustainable energy sources. One of the best alternatives is green diesel which could be produced from vegetable oils (no net amount of carbon dioxide is released into the atmosphere). These kinds of oils are converted to green diesel via hydrotreating reaction at high temperature and pressure in the presence of a heterogeneous catalyst which plays an essential role in this process. These heterogeneous catalysts which could be bi- or monometallic, consist of a support and an active metal compound. The characteristics of the support such as specific surface area, pore volume and pore diameter have a determining effect on the final properties of the formed catalyst. They can determine the amount of optimum active phase loading and should be adapted to the reactant molecular size. In this thesis first, the γ-alumina support was one-pot synthesized via polymeric template assisted sol-gel and evaporation-induced self-assembly process. Aluminum isopropoxide (Al(O-i-Pr)₃) and triblock copolymer template (Pluronic P123) were respectively used as aluminum source and structure directing agent. The optimum calcination temperature and P123/Al(O-i-Pr)₃ mass ratio were respectively found to be 700ºC (with 3 h of soaking time) and 0.98 enabling the production of γ-alumina with appropriate textural properties. In the next step, 15% wt. MoO₃ and 3% wt. NiO or CoO were impregnated on the prepared support to respectively form NiMo/γ-alumina and CoMo/γ-alumina after subsequent calcination. Following an ex-situ sulfidation, the hydrotreatment of canola oil was performed in a continuous reactor to result in green diesel production. Temperature range of 325 to 400ºC and LHSV of 1 to 3 h⁻¹ were studied while the other process parameters were kept constant at P: 450 psi and H2/oil: 600 mLmL⁻¹. Both catalysts are promising for green diesel (mainly C15-C18) production while NiMo showed a slightly higher activity at higher LHSV. The optimum temperature and LHSV were found to be 325ºC and 1 h⁻¹. Finally, the environmentally friendly Ni/γ-alumina (reduced) catalysts with mesoporous structure were synthesize through sol-gel (one-step) and impregnation (two-step) methods. Lower bulk nickel oxide content was detected in sol-gel derived catalyst compared to impregnated ones which is due to the incorporation of nickel inside the alumina framework. After the reduction, metallic nickel was formed in both catalysts. Canola oil hydrotreatment was performed over both catalysts (temperature: 400ºC, P: 500 psi, LHSV: 0.5 h-1, H2/oil: 600 mLmL⁻¹) and normal hydrocarbons, mainly C15-C18, were produced. The triglyceride initial conversion was observed to be higher over the impregnated catalyst while after a time on stream of 300 min, it falls to values lower than that of the sol-gel catalyst, showing the higher stability over time of the latter.
Document Type: Thèse de doctorat
Issue Date: 2017
Open Access Date: 24 April 2018
Grantor: Université Laval
Collection:Thèses et mémoires

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