Phenol was oxidized in supercritical water at 380-450°C and 219-300 atm, using CuO/Al2O3 as a catalyst in a packed-bed flow reactor. The CuO catalyst has the desired effects of accelerating the phenol disappearance and CO2 formation rates relative to non-catalytic supercritical water oxidation (SCWO). It also simultaneously reduced the yield of undesired phenol dimers at a given phenol conversion. The rates of phenol disappearance and CO2 formation are sensitive to the phenol and O2 concentrations, but insensitive to the water density. A dual-site Langmuir-Hinshelwood-Hougen-Watson rate law used previously for catalytic SCWO of phenol over other transition metal oxides and the Mars-van Krevelen rate law can correlate the catalytic kinetics for phenol disappearance over CuO. The supported CuO catalyst exhibited a higher activity, on a mass of catalyst basis, for phenol disappearance and CO2 formation than did bulk MnO2 or bulk TiO2. The CuO catalyst had the lowest activity, however, when expressed on the basis of fresh catalyst surface area. The CuO catalyst exhibited some initial deactivation, but otherwise maintained its activity throughout 100 h of continuous use. Both Cu and Al were detected in the reactor effluent, however, which indicates the dissolution or erosion of the catalyst at reaction conditions.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Science(all)
- Process Chemistry and Technology