Activated carbon, carbon nanofiber and carbon nanotube supported molybdenum carbide catalysts for the hydrodeoxygenation of guaiacol

Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez, Maxime Perdu, Robert Pace, Tonya Morgan, Mark Crocker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


Molybdenum carbide was supported on three types of carbon support—activated carbon; multi-walled carbon nanotubes; and carbon nanofibers—using ammonium molybdate and molybdic acid as Mo precursors. The use of activated carbon as support afforded an X-ray amorphous Mo phase, whereas crystalline molybdenum carbide phases were obtained on carbon nanofibers and, in some cases, on carbon nanotubes. When the resulting catalysts were tested in the hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of guaiacol in dodecane, catechol and phenol were obtained as the main products, although in some instances significant amounts of cyclohexane were produced. The observation of catechol in all reaction mixtures suggests that guaiacol was converted into phenol via sequential demethylation and HDO, although the simultaneous occurrence of a direct demethoxylation pathway cannot be discounted. Catalysts based on carbon nanofibers generally afforded the highest yields of phenol; notably, the only crystalline phase detected in these samples was Mo2C or Mo2C-ζ, suggesting that crystalline Mo2C is particularly selective to phenol. At 350 °C, carbon nanofiber supported Mo2C afforded near quantitative guaiacol conversion, the selectivity to phenol approaching 50%. When guaiacol HDO was performed in the presence of acetic acid and furfural, guaiacol conversion decreased, although the selectivity to both catechol and phenol was increased.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424-441
Number of pages18
Issue number1
StatePublished - Mar 16 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 by the author.


  • Activated carbon
  • Bio-oil upgrading
  • Carbide catalysts
  • Carbon nanofibers
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Guaiacol
  • Hydrodeoxygenation
  • Molybdenum

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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