The activity and selectivity of activated-carbon-supported Ni, Pt, Ru, and Ni-Ru bimetallic catalysts was examined for hydrothermal denitrogenation of indole. The molar yield of pyrrole ring-opening compounds, without an added hydrogen source, are in the order: Ni < Pt < Ni90Ru10 < Ni75Ru25 < Ni50Ru50 ~ Ni25Ru75 ~ Ru. Ru-containing catalysts facilitated production of hydrocarbons (hydrodenitrogenation (HDN) products) when used with added formic acid (hydrogen source). We elucidated catalytic hydrothermal HDN pathways for indole based on the product distributions and the variation of their yields with time. Hydrogenation of indole to indoline is the primary pathway and ring-opening of indoline to form alkyl anilines is faster than forming HDN products (alkyl benzenes). DFT calculations confirmed experimental activity trends, showing Ru is more active than Ni for indole ring opening and for o-toluidine deamination. If no hydrogen source is present, directly breaking the N-C bond in the pyrrole ring is more favorable than breaking the C-N bond with an aromatic carbon. If a H source is provided, the pyrrole ring hydrogenates first, forming indoline, followed by cleavage of the C-N bond.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Environmental Chemistry
- Chemical Engineering(all)
- Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering