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Keywords:

  • aqueous-phase reforming;
  • carbohydrates;
  • heterogeneous catalysis;
  • platinum;
  • ruthenium

Abstract

A one-step process for the selective production of methane from low-value aqueous carbohydrate streams is proposed. Sorbitol, used herein as a model compound, is fully converted to methane, CO2, and a minor amount of H2 by using a physical mixture of Pt and Ru (1:5 in mass basis) at 220 °C and 35 bar. This conversion is the result of hydrogenolysis of part of the sorbitol over Ru and the in situ production of H2 through the aqueous-phase reforming of the remaining carbohydrate over Pt. A synergistic effect of the combination of these two catalysts results in the rapid and highly selective conversion of the carbohydrate to methane. This process offers the possibility of upgrading a low-value carbohydrate stream into a valuable fuel with no addition of H2. Exergy analysis reveals that nearly 80 % of the exergy of the reactant is recovered as methane.