High-efficiency catalytic hydrodeoxygenation of lignin-derived vanillin with nickel-supported metal phosphate catalysts

Jie Gao, Yang Cao, Gang Luo, Jiajun Fan, James H. Clark, Shicheng Zhang*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Lignin is a natural and renewable aromatic raw material of aromatic chemicals and its depolymerization and downstream products conversion has drawn considerable attention. Herein, a series of Ni loaded metal phosphates (Ni/MP, M = Ti, Zr, Nb, La, or Ce) catalysts were fabricated for the hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of lignin-derived vanillin (VAN) to produce 2-methoxy-4-methylphenol (MMP). It has been demonstrated that 97.25% VAN conversion could be obtained with a yield of 88.39% of MMP under the mild condition of 220 °C and 0.5 MPa H2 for 30 min with 15 wt% Ni/ZrP. The highest activity of Ni/ZrP was attributed to its small Ni particle size, large specific surface area, strong metal-support interaction, and optimal acidity. It has been proven that Ni, Lewis acid sites (LAS) and Brønsted acid sites (BAS) have a synergistic effect in VAN conversion: Nano-sized Ni catalyze the dissociation of H2 to form active hydrogen species (H[rad]). LAS promote the adsorption and activation of VAN and isopropanol. BAS play a vital role in the dehydration reaction. Additionally, H2 was the primary hydrogen donor in the system, while isopropanol was the reaction medium as well as the secondary hydrogen donor, helping to reduce the external H2 supply requirement. By optimizing the reaction conditions and studying the promotion mechanism, we hope to provide an experimental basis for lignin catalytic hydrogenolysis.

Original languageEnglish
Article number137723
Number of pages10
Early online date25 Jun 2022
Publication statusPublished - 15 Nov 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This research was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 21876030), the International Cooperation Project of Science and Technology Commission of Shanghai Municipality (No. 18230710700).

© 2022 Elsevier B.V. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.


  • Aromatic compounds
  • Hydrodeoxygenation
  • Metal phosphate
  • Nickel
  • Vanillin

Cite this