Catalytic hydroconversion of tricaprylin and caprylic acid as model reaction for biofuel production from triglycerides

László Boda, György Onyestyák, Hanna Solt, Ferenc Lónyi, József Valyon, Artrur Thernesz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

127 Citations (Scopus)


There is strong interest in the production of fuels from triglycerides of biological origin. In this work tricaprylin (TC) and caprylic acid (CA) were used as model compounds to study the catalytic hydroconversion process of triglycerides to acyclic aliphatic hydrocarbons. Supported metal and metal oxide catalysts, such as palladium on activated carbon (Pd/C), and promoted molybdena-alumina (Ni,Mo/γ-Al2O3) were used. The reaction was found to proceed in consecutive steps: hydrogenolysis (HYS) of TC to CA and propane, followed by hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of the CA intermediate. The overall reaction rate was governed by the rate of the HDO reaction. Two distinct HDO routes were distinguished: (i) hydrodecabonylation and (ii) reduction of oxygen. Over Pd/C the prevailing reaction route of CA hydroconversion was the decarbonylation giving mainly C7 alkane and CO, whereas the HDO over the Ni,Mo/γ-Al2O3 catalysts proceeded in consecutive H2 addition and dehydration steps giving predominantly C8= alkenes, C8 alkanes and water. In reaction route (ii) alcohol and traces of aldehyde were detected as acid-to-alkane intermediates. Results suggest that reaction route (i) passes through formic acid intermediate that, in the presence of H2, rapidly decomposes to CO and H2O.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)158-169
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Catalysis A: General
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1 2010


  • Caprylic acid hydroconversion
  • Ni,Mo/γ-alumina
  • Pd/carbon
  • Tricaprylin hydroconversion

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

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