Effects of iron-oxygen precursor phase on carbon-carbon bond scission in naphthylbibenzylmethane

John C. Linehan, Dean W. Matson, John G. Darab

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22 Citations (Scopus)


Eleven iron-oxygen compounds prepared using standard laboratory syntheses were tested as precursors for carbon-carbon bond scission catalysts with the coal model compound naphthyl-bibenzylmethane in the presence of elemental sulfur and a hydrogen-donating solvent. The structure of the iron-oxygen catalyst precursor was found to be the most significant factor determining the reactivity of the catalyst produced. The reactivity of the iron-oxygen compounds showed little apparent correlation with surface area, iron content, or water content. The iron-containing single-phase materials with the best catalytic activity at 400 °C were determined to be ferric oxyhydroxysulfate (Fe8O8(OH)8SO4), six-line ferrihydrite, goethite (α-FeOOH), and akaganeite (β-FeOOH). The worst iron-oxygen compounds were found to be wustite (FeO), two-line ferrihydrite, magnetite (Fe3O4), and maghemite (γ-Fe2O3). The general order of reactivity of the iron-oxygen compounds toward carbon-carbon bond scission was found to be proto-oxyhydroxides>oxyhydroxides>oxides. All of the iron-oxygen compounds tested were at least as active as metallic iron (α-Fe). All of the active catalyst precursors produced similar distributions of organic reaction products from the model compound. The best catalyst precursor tested was ferric oxyhydroxysulfate, which formed a catalyst which selectively cleaved carbon-carbon bonds at the α-naphthyl-methylene (`a') and the β-naphthyl-methylene (`b') positions with a model compound consumption of greater than 90% under the test conditions. The ferric oxyhydroxysulfate was found to contain a relatively large amount of water and small amount of iron, 18% and 43%, respectively, by weight.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)56-62
Number of pages7
JournalEnergy and Fuels
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1994

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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