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Title: Alcohols conversion over transition metal based catalyts
Authors: Ndebele, Mthobisi Sbonelo 
Issue Date: 2018
Ethanol and butanol obtainable through fermentation of lignocellulose biomass have become promising alternative feedstock for production of fuels as they are biodegradable and sustainably regenerated via the photosynthesis cycle. The properties of hydrocarbons produced through alcohol conversion closely resemble those of gasoline. Catalytic systems are reported to play a vital role during alcohol conversion to hydrocarbons. In this study ethanol and butanol were used as a feedstock for production of hydrocarbons over Fe, Zn and Ni catalyst systems supported on zeolite ZSM-5 (Zeolite Socony Mobil-5) and activated carbon (AC).
X- Ray Diffraction (XRD), Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) coupled with Energy- dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDS) and Brunauer, Emmet, and Teller (BET) analyses were employed for catalyst characterization. XRD patterns confirmed the success of metal doping on ZSM-5 and activated carbon supports. Major peaks at 7.96° and 23.97° corresponding to ZSM-5 crystals were observed in ZSM-5, and AC was found to be amorphous. Impregnation with metals reduced the crystallinity of ZSM-5 supported catalysts. Whereas SEM analysis showed that catalysts supported on ZSM-5 exhibited irregular shapes and catalyst supported on activated carbon exhibited disordered structures. The BET analyses confirmed that the surface areas of promoted catalysts decreased after metal doping.
Evaluation of the catalysts were carried out in a ½ inch stainless steel reactor at 400 °C and atmospheric pressure with a weight hourly space velocity (WHSV) of 2.5 h-1 (g feed)/ (g catalyst). The ZSM-5 support performed better than activated carbon support. More than 90% conversion was achieved over catalysts supported on ZSM-5. Production of hydrocarbons over catalysts supported on activated carbon were as a result of the active component. Conversion of feedstock was observed to produce more benzene, toluene and xylene (BTX) compounds with an increase in butanol content. 100% conversion was achieved with pure butanol and not more than 99.86% conversion was achieved with pure ethanol.

Catalyst systems supported on HZSM-5 and activated carbon were successfully synthesised. Ethanol, butanol and ethanol-butanol mixtures were successfully converted to liquid hydrocarbons and the conversion was greater than 90%. On the promoted catalysts, production of BTX were suppressed and various metals were observed to perform differently.
Submitted in fulfilment of the requirements for the Master of Engineering: Chemical Engineering, Durban University of Technology, Durban, South Africa, 2018.
Appears in Collections:Theses and dissertations (Engineering and Built Environment)

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