Catalytic hydrothermal deoxygenation of palmitic acid

Jie Fu, Xiuyang Lu, Phillip E. Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

210 Scopus citations


We herein report a new approach to convert fatty acids to hydrocarbons in near- or supercritical water. We tested several different metal salts, bases, and high-surface-area supported metal catalysts for activity toward deoxygenation of palmitic acid in a hydrothermal reaction medium. Two heterogeneous catalysts, 5% platinum on activated carbon (Pt/C) and 5% palladium on activated carbon (Pd/C), proved to be very effective for hydrothermal deoxygenation of palmitic acid. The reactions were done in water with no added H2. The catalysts can be reused without significant activity loss, and the selectivity was more than 90% toward pentadecane, the deoxygenation product. We examined the effect of the catalyst loading, reactant loading, batch holding time, and reaction temperature on the Pt/C-catalyzed deoxygenation rate. The results show that the reaction is first-order in palmitic acid, and the rate constants displayed Arrhenius behavior with an activation energy of 79 kJ mol-1.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)311-317
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy and Environmental Science
Issue number3
StatePublished - 2010

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Nuclear Energy and Engineering
  • Pollution


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