Herein, we report on the development of supported Ni and Raney Ni catalysts doped with Cu for the hydrothermal hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of o-cresol. Raney Ni catalysts doped with >10 wt % Cu show a significant reduction in gasification activity and produce a higher yield of liquid products than the unmodified Raney Ni catalyst. Adding Cu did not, however, increase the yield of the desired HDO products, liquid hydrocarbons. The addition of acid sites to the catalysts, by supporting Ni and NiCu on Al2O3 and by calcining the Raney Ni to produce Al2O3 within the catalyst, however, did significantly increase the HDO activity of the catalysts such that yields of liquid hydrocarbons exceeded 60%. Two catalysts, a novel calcined 5% Raney NiCu catalyst and a NiCu/Al2O3 catalyst, produced the highest liquid hydrocarbon yields to date (∼70%) for stable, non-noble metal, hydrothermal HDO catalysts.
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