Behavior of Cholesterol and Catalysts in Supercritical Water

Jennifer N. Jocz, Phillip E. Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Cholesterol reacted over 5 wt % Pt/C, 5 wt % Pd/C, and HZSM-5 in supercritical water at 400 °C. The major products with the Pt/C and Pd/C catalysts are cholesterol-derived steroids, polynuclear aromatic compounds, aliphatic hydrocarbons, and gases (H2, CH4, and C2H6), resulting from hydrogenation, dehydrogenation, and cracking reactions. HZSM-5 favored initial dehydration of cholesterol to form cholesta-3,5-diene and then catalyzed further isomerization and cracking reactions. The presence of H2 had little or no effect, except when the catalyst was absent, in which case added H2 led to higher cholestadiene yields and lower cholesterol conversion. Increasing the catalyst loading resulted in higher yields of lower molecular weight products but also significantly lower carbon recoveries. Characterization of the Pt/C and Pd/C catalysts showed carbon support gasification and particle growth after exposure to supercritical water.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7937-7946
Number of pages10
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 20 2016

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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