Solid Nanoparticles that Catalyze Biofuel Upgrade Reactions at the Water/Oil Interface

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Science  01 Jan 2010:
Vol. 327, Issue 5961, pp. 68-72
DOI: 10.1126/science.1180769

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A recoverable catalyst that simultaneously stabilizes emulsions would be highly advantageous in streamlining processes such as biomass refining, in which the immiscibility and thermal instability of crude products greatly complicates purification procedures. Here, we report a family of solid catalysts that can stabilize water-oil emulsions and catalyze reactions at the liquid/liquid interface. By depositing palladium onto carbon nanotube–inorganic oxide hybrid nanoparticles, we demonstrate biphasic hydrodeoxygenation and condensation catalysis in three substrate classes of interest in biomass refining. Microscopic characterization of the emulsions supports localization of the hybrid particles at the interface.

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