Improved catalyst formulations for the conversion of glycerol to bio-based aromatics

Songbo He, Thomas Sjouke Kramer, Frederike Gerda Hiltje Klein, Anshu Chandel, Zhuorigebatu Tegudeer, Andre Heeres, Chuncheng Liu, Evgeny Pidko, Hero Jan Heeres*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)
37 Downloads (Pure)


The catalytic conversion of glycerol to aromatics (GTA, e.g., benzene, toluene, and xylenes, BTX) over a shaped H-ZSM-5/Al2O3 (60/40 wt%) catalyst was investigated in a continuous fixed-bed reactor to study the addition of the Al2O3 binder in the catalyst formulation on catalyst performance. The experiments were performed under N2 at 550 °C, a WHSV of glycerol (pure) of 1 h−1, and atmospheric pressure. The spent H-ZSM-5/Al2O3 catalysts were reused after an oxidative regeneration at 680 °C and in total 5 reaction-regeneration cycles were performed. Catalyst characterization studies show that the addition of the Al2O3 binder does not affect the surface area and crystallinity of the formulation, but increases the total pore volume (mesopores in particular) and total acidity (Lewis acidity in particular). The H-ZSM-5/Al2O3 (60/40 wt%) catalyst shows a considerably prolonged catalyst life-time (8.5 vs. 6.5 h for H-ZSM-5), resulting in a significant increase in the total BTX productivity (710 vs. 556 mg g−1 H-ZSM-5). Besides, the addition of the Al2O3 binder retards irreversible deactivation. For instance, after 3 regenerations, catalyst performance is comparable to the fresh one. However, after 4 regenerations, some irreversible catalyst deactivation occurs, associated with a reduction in total pore volume, crystallinity, and acidity (Brønsted acidity in particular), and meso-porosity of the Al2O3 binder. This study shows that both the stability and reusability of H-ZSM-5-based catalysts for GTA are remarkably enhanced when using a suitable binder.

Original languageEnglish
Article number118393
Number of pages13
JournalApplied Catalysis A: General
Publication statusPublished - 2022


  • Binder
  • Bio-based chemicals
  • BTX
  • Catalytic pyrolysis
  • ZSM-5


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