The kinetics of hydrogenation of xylose to xylitol on a sponge nickel catalyst (commonly referred to as Raney Ni catalyst) and of catalyst deactivation were studied. Plausible explanations for the decrease in catalytic activity by means of surface studies, nitrogen adsorption and thermogravimetric analyses of the fresh and spent catalysts are presented. The kinetic parameters of the process were estimated by the use of a semi-competitive model, which allows full competition between the organic species and the hydrogen atoms for the absorption sites on the catalyst surface (competitive case). In the model, a competitiveness factor (α) is introduced to take into account that even after complete coverage of the surface by the organic species, interstitial sites remain for the adsorption of the hydrogen atoms.
- Catalyst deactivation
- Sponge nickel catalyst