Reaction pathways and kinetics of cholesterol in high-temperature water

David C. Hietala, Phillip E. Savage

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Scopus citations


We investigated the reaction of cholesterol, a model compound for sterols in microalgae, in high-temperature water at 300, 325, and 350°C. Products nearly entirely consisted of cholestadienes, with cholesta-2,4-diene, cholesta-3,5-diene, and cholesta-4,6-diene being the most abundant isomers. Cholesta-3,5-diene was the only primary product, formed via dehydration of cholesterol. Cholesta-2,4-diene and cholesta-4,6-diene likely formed from cholesta-3,5-diene by double-bond migration. We report conversion and product molar yields for each reaction condition. The initial rate of disappearance of cholesterol was first-order with an activation energy of Ea=127±12kJmol-1 and A=108.35±2.41s-1. We used a delplot analysis and mechanistic considerations to develop a reaction network for conditions relevant to hydrothermal liquefaction of microalgae.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)129-137
Number of pages9
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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