Background: There is an increasing interest in sustainable biomass feedstock production worldwide due to high cost and diminishing availability of petroleum-based feedstock. Biorenewable conversions will be important to a future biorefinery where biomass will be used as the raw material. Despite its popularity biorenewable conversions provide new challenges in research and development. One of the requirements of the new conversion process is hydrothermal stability of catalysts. Catalysts developed for petroleum refineries are not stable and lose surface area and activity when used under high temperature processes that are conducted in the presence of liquid or gas phase water. Previous work has used water vapor adsorption and boiling water as a measure of hydrothermal stability but treatment at atmospheric pressure conditions are not severe and do not provide evidence of adequate hydrothermal stability for aqueous-phase reactions at elevated pressure. Hence there is a need for improved methods to develop and test hydrothermally stable catalysts at elevated temperatures and pressures. Technology Description: Researchers at the University of New Mexico have developed a simple cost-effective and universally applicable route to make oxide catalysts and supports resistant to the degradation that occurs during high-temperature process of biorenewable conversions. The invention shows direct evidence for the presence of carbon on the surface of the oxide making it less susceptible to degradation in the presence of water whether present as vapor or liquid. The invention also contains method to test the hydrothermal stability of the catalyst supports with the use of an electron microscope. Applications: 1) A method to prepare carbon coatings on the surface of silica catalyst supports that have convex as well as concave surfaces. 2) Universally applicable to any oxide support. 3) A direct evidence of integrating the benefits of mechanical thermal and chemical stability to produce hydrothermally stable catalyst supports. 4) Possible applications of these materials include demanding aqueous phase reactions such dehydration decarbonylation reforming and hydrogenation as well as acid catalyzed reactions. 5) Catalysis of biorenewable feedstocks
Less susceptible to degradation.