Promotional effect of Cu, Fe and Pt on the performance of Ni/Al2O3 in the deoxygenation of used cooking oil to fuel-like hydrocarbons

Gisele C.R. Silva, Dali Qian, Robert Pace, Olivier Heintz, Gilles Caboche, Eduardo Santillan-Jimenez, Mark Crocker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Inexpensive Ni-based catalysts can afford comparable performance to costly precious metal formulations in the conversion of fat, oil, or greases (FOG) to fuel-like hydrocarbons via decarboxylation/decarbonylation (deCOx). While the addition of certain metals has been observed to promote Ni-based deCOx catalysts, the steady-state performance of bimetallic formulations must be ascertained using industrially relevant feeds and reaction conditions in order to make meaningful comparisons. In the present work, used cooking oil (UCO) was upgraded to renewable diesel via deCOx over Ni/Al2O3 promoted with Cu, Fe, or Pt in a fixed-bed reactor at 375C using a weight hourly space velocity (WHSV) of 1 h−1. Although all catalysts fully deoxygenated the feed to hydrocarbons throughout the entire 76 h duration of these experiments, the cracking activity (and the evolution thereof) was distinct for each formulation. Indeed, that of the Ni-Cu catalyst was low and relatively stable, that of the Ni-Fe formulation was initially high but progressively dropped to become negligible, and that of the Ni-Pt catalyst started as moderate, varied considerably, and finished high. Analysis of the spent catalysts suggests that the evolution of the cracking activity can be mainly ascribed to changes in the composition of the metal particles.

Original languageEnglish
Article number91
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2020

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland.


  • Copper
  • Decarbonylation
  • Decarboxylation
  • Deoxygenation
  • Hydrocarbons
  • Iron
  • Nickel
  • Platinum
  • Used cooking oil

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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