Coking and sintering progress of a Ni supported catalyst in the steam reforming of biomass pyrolysis volatiles

Aitor Ochoa*, Aitor Arregi, Maider Amutio, Ana G. Gayubo, Martin Olazar, Javier Bilbao, Pedro Castaño

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

124 Scopus citations


The valorization of biomass (pine wood) for hydrogen production has been studied in a two-step process, comprising pyrolysis and subsequent steam reforming of the volatiles produced in the first step. This work focuses on the deactivation of the Ni commercial catalyst used in the second step. Pyrolysis of biomass has been performed in a conical spouted bed reactor at 500 °C, and the in-line catalytic steam reforming of the pyrolysis volatiles, in a fluidized bed reactor at 600 °C. Deactivated catalyst samples were recovered at different values of time on stream, and analyzed by means of XRD, N2 adsorption-desorption, SEM and TEM microscopies, TPO, Raman and FTIR spectroscopies. The results show that the deactivation is mainly due to the encapsulation of Ni particles by coke, together with Ni sintering, to a lesser extent (from a Ni particle size of 25 nm in the reduced fresh catalyst, to 39 nm at 100 min). The former is ascribed to the condensation of oxygenates (particularly phenols), and the latter is inevitable within the current conditions. As the fraction of uncovered Ni particles decreases with time on stream, the deposition of encapsulating coke is slowed down (from a formation rate of 0.30 mgcoke gcatalyst −1 min−1 to 0.20 mgcoke gcatalyst −1 min−1, at 0–50 min and 50–100 min on stream, respectively), promoting the deposition of coke on the catalyst support (with a formation rate of 1.04 mgcoke gcatalyst −1 min−1 at 50–100 min on stream), with a more carbonized structure and formed through the thermal decomposition of phenols in the reaction medium.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)289-300
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
StatePublished - Oct 5 2018
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Generated from Scopus record by KAUST IRTS on 2019-08-08


  • Biomass
  • Coke deposition
  • Deactivation
  • Metallic sintering
  • Steam reforming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Environmental Science
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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