The catalytic hydroprocessing of phenethyl phenyl ether (PPE), a model compound of one of the most significant ether linkages within lignin structure, β-O-4, has been studied. Reactions were carried out using two ruthenium-based catalysts, supported on different materials: 3.8 wt.% Ru/C and 3.9 wt.% Ru/Al2O3. Aiming at studying the reaction mechanism, experiments were carried out at 150 °C and 25 bar in H2 atmosphere, with varying feed to catalyst mass ratios and reaction time. Differences between the relative importance of the steps of the mechanism were observed when using those two catalysts. The most significant finding was the predominance of the cleavage of Cβ-O bonds compared to the cleavage of the Caryl-O when using Ru/Al2O3 as catalyst; whereas with Ru/C, the two routes were nearly equivalent. It has been observed that the kinetic model describes the general tendencies of consumption and formation of the different products, but some over/under estimation of concentrations occurs. Finally, the effect of temperature was also explored by carrying out reactions at 100 and 125 °C, observing that decreasing temperature from 150 to 125 or 100 °C favored the dimer hydrogenation route versus the hydrogenolysis of the ether bonds.
- Ether bond
- Ru catalyst