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Nickel Catalyst Stability toward Carboxylic Acids

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journal contribution
posted on 16.07.2008 by Andrew D. Pienaar, Arno de Klerk
Reduced (unsulfided) nickel catalysts can be used for hydroprocessing sulfur-free Fischer−Tropsch derived feed materials, but catalyst deactivation by metal leaching can be a problem in the presence of carboxylic acids. Leaching of reduced nickel catalysts by carboxylic acids takes place by the formation of nickel carboxylates. Carboxylic acid leaching of nickel can be prevented by operating above the carboxylate decomposition temperature, which was found to be in the range 280−305 °C for the C2−C5 nickel carboxylates. Unfortunately this is not industrially practical, because of the hydrogenolysis propensity of reduced nickel catalysts at these conditions. It was also found that nickel leaching did not monotonically increase with temperature, but was inhibited at >200 °C, probably due to polymerization of the nickel carboxylates.