To reduce greenhouse gas emissions there is growing interest in using oxygenates from various natural oil sources, to produce entirely renewable diesel fuels or blending them with petroleum-based feedstocks to increase the renewable portion of conventional diesel fuels. The oxygenates, e.g. methyl esters, are upgraded in catalytic hydrogenation processes to improve the combustion properties and stability of the fuel product. The selectivity of these hydrogenation processes has a large influence on the quality of the fuel and of course there is interest in designing highly efficient catalysts and well-controlled upgrading processes.
To help facilitate these developments this project involves fundamental mechanistic studies of the catalytic methyl ester hydrogenation reaction using model compounds and well characterized catalysts. Both experimental and kinetic mathematical modeling approaches will be used to gain a better understanding of the catalytic mechanisms and their influence on the selectivity of the process. The project is relevant to the Energy Area of Advance at Chalmers and is an activity with the Competence Centre for Catalysis (KCK) at Chalmers.