Catalytic deoxygenation of triglycerides to hydrocarbons over supported nickel catalysts

Tonya Morgan, Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez, Anne E. Harman-Ware, Yaying Ji, Daniel Grubb, Mark Crocker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

147 Scopus citations


The deoxygenation of triolein and soybean oil under nitrogen atmosphere was investigated over Ni-Al, Ni-Mg-Al and Mg-Al layered double hydroxides, as well as 20wt.% Ni/Al 2O 3. Deoxygenation was found to proceed via removal of the carboxyl group in the fatty acid structure as CO 2 and CO, while additional cracking of the fatty acid chains resulted in the formation of mainly liquid (C5-C17) hydrocarbons. In comparison with triolein, the greater unsaturation of soybean oil resulted in increased cracking, leading to the formation of lighter hydrocarbons and higher amounts of coke deposits. According to 13C NMR measurements, one of the pathways for hydrocarbon formation involves a β-hydrogen elimination in the triglyceride to produce a fatty acid, the decarboxylation of which yields a linear hydrocarbon. The formation of coke was consistently observed in these reactions and was found to limit catalyst activity.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)346-355
Number of pages10
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
StatePublished - May 1 2012

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
The authors thank Owensboro Grain for a gift of soybean oil and Dr. Jin Wang for helpful discussions. This work was funded in part by the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) under award DE-FG36-08GO88043.


  • Decarboxylation
  • Deoxygenation
  • Hydrotalcite
  • Layered double hydroxide
  • Ni
  • Triglyceride

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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