Optimisation of Propane Production from Hydrothermal Decarboxylation of Butyric Acid Using Pt/C Catalyst: Influence of Gaseous Reaction Atmospheres


The displacement and eventual replacement of fossil-derived fuel gases with biomass-derived alternatives can help the energy sector to achieve net zero by 2050. Decarboxylation of butyric acid, which can be obtained from biomass, can produce high yields of propane, a component of liquefied petroleum gases. The use of different gaseous reaction atmospheres of nitrogen, hydrogen, and compressed air during the catalytic hydrothermal conversion of butyric acid to propane have been investigated in a batch reactor within a temperature range of 200–350 °C. The experimental results were statistically evaluated to find the optimum conditions to produce propane via decarboxylation while minimizing other potential side reactions. The results revealed that nitrogen gas was the most appropriate atmosphere to control propane production under the test conditions between 250 °C and 300 °C, during which the highest hydrocarbon selectivity for propane of up to 97% was achieved. Below this temperature range, butyric acid conversion remained low under the three reaction atmospheres. Above 300 °C, competing reactions became more significant. Under compressed air atmosphere, oxidation to CO2 became dominant, and under nitrogen, thermal cracking of propane became significant, producing both ethane and methane as side products. Interestingly, under a hydrogen atmosphere, hydrogenolytic cracking propane became dominant, leading to multiple C–C bond cleavages to produce methane as the main side product at 350 °C.

Publication DOI: https://doi.org/10.3390/en15010268
Divisions: College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > School of Infrastructure and Sustainable Engineering > Chemical Engineering & Applied Chemistry
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences
College of Engineering & Physical Sciences > Energy and Bioproducts Research Institute (EBRI)
Additional Information: © 2021 by the authors. Licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (https:// creativecommons.org/licenses/by/ 4.0/). Funding: The authors thank Aston University Research England Global Challenges Research Fund (GCRF) Block Grant 20/21 Allocation for funding this research. Additional fundings from SHV Energy, the Netherlands (for I. Razaq). EPSRC, BBSRC, and UK Supergen Bioenergy Hub (EP/S000771/1) are also gratefully acknowledged.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Biopropane,Butyric acid,Hydrothermal decarboxylation,Optimisation,Pt/C catalyst,Statistical analysis,Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment,Fuel Technology,Energy Engineering and Power Technology,Energy (miscellaneous),Control and Optimization,Electrical and Electronic Engineering
Publication ISSN: 1996-1073
Last Modified: 15 May 2024 07:17
Date Deposited: 04 Jan 2022 15:19
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Related URLs: https://www.mdp ... 3/15/1/268/html (Publisher URL)
http://www.scop ... tnerID=8YFLogxK (Scopus URL)
PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2021-12-31
Accepted Date: 2021-12-28
Authors: Onwudili, Jude A. (ORCID Profile 0000-0002-5355-9970)
Razaq, Iram
Simons, Keith E.



Version: Published Version

License: Creative Commons Attribution

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