Compounds containing oxygen functional groups, especially phenols, are undesirable components of coal-derived liquids. Removal of these compounds from the products of coal liquefaction is required. A beneficial alternative would be the removal of these compounds, or the prevention of their formation, during the liquefaction reaction itself, rather than as a separate processing step. A novel organometallic catalyst precursor containing Co and Mo has been studied as a potential hydrogenation catalyst for coal liquefaction. To ascertain the hydrodeoxygenation activity of this catalyst under liquefaction conditions, model compounds were investigated. Anthrone, 2,6-di-t-butyl-4-methyl-phenol, dinaphthyl ether, and xanthene were reacted in the presence of the Co-Mo catalyst precursor and a precursor containing only Mo over a range of temperatures, providing a comparison of conversions to deoxygenated products. These conversions give an indication of the hydrodeoxygenating abilities of organometallic catalyst precursors within a coal liquefaction system. For example, at 400°C dinaphthyl ether was converted 100% (4.5% O-containing products) in the presence of the Co-Mo organometallic precursor, compared to 76.5% conversion (7.4% O-products) in the presence of the Mo catalyst.
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