Deactivation by Potassium Accumulation on a Pt/TiO2 Bifunctional Catalyst for Biomass Catalytic Fast Pyrolysis

Fan Lin, Yubing Lu, Kinga A. Unocic, Susan E. Habas, Michael B. Griffin, Joshua A. Schaidle, Harry M. Meyer, Yong Wang, Huamin Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus Citations


Biomass-derived feedstocks bring significant challenges to the longevity of the catalysts used for their conversion, and alkali metals, for example, K, in the feedstock have been widely ascribed as one of the important factors causing catalyst deactivation. To address this challenge, it is critical to understand the mechanism of catalyst deactivation caused by K accumulation to guide the improvement of catalysts and processes and the development of catalyst regeneration strategies. In this work, we report a deep understanding of the impact of K on a bifunctional Pt/TiO2 catalyst, which is an efficient catalyst for the ex situ catalytic fast pyrolysis of biomass. We simulated the K-poisoning of Pt/TiO2 catalysts by purposely loading different amounts of K (100–6000 ppm by weight) on the catalysts. A series of characterization approaches, including scanning transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, and chemical titration, were combined with a kinetic assessment of multiple probe reactions to elucidate the mechanism of Pt/TiO2 deactivation by K accumulation. At low K loadings (<800 ppm), K preferentially poisons the strong Lewis acid sites, leading to significantly reduced activity for acid-catalyzed alcohol dehydration. However, acetone condensation is less sensitive to the poisoning of strong Lewis acid sites. Reactions that occur on Pt sites or at the metal–support interface, including alkene hydrogenation, m-cresol hydrodeoxygenation (HDO), and CO oxidation, were not impacted. At high K loadings (>800 ppm), K starts to accumulate on the Pt–TiO2 interfacial area, poisoning the interfacial active sites for HDO and CO oxidation reactions. We further found that the poisoning of the Pt/TiO2 catalyst by K is reversible, and water washing can successfully remove the accumulated K and recover the activities for both alcohol dehydration and m-cresol HDO reactions.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)465-480
Number of pages16
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number1
StatePublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-5100-80303


  • catalyst deactivation
  • catalytic fast pyrolysis
  • hydrodeoxygenation
  • hydrogenation
  • Lewis acid
  • potassium
  • Pt/TiO


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