RSC Adv. 2022 Aug 9;12(34):21916-21925. doi: 10.1039/d2ra03941a. eCollection 2022 Aug 4.
In this study, bentonite modified by zirconium nitride (ZrN) and zirconium phosphide (ZrP) catalysts was studied in the hydrocracking of crude palm oil to biofuels. The study demonstrated that bentonite was propitiously modified by ZrN and ZrP, as assessed by XRD, FTIR spectroscopy, and SEM-EDX analysis. The acidity of the bentonite catalyst was remarkably enhanced by ZrN and ZrP, and it showed an increased intensity in the Lewis acid and Brønsted acid sites, as presented by pyridine FTIR. In the hydrocracking application, the highest conversion was achieved by bentonite-ZrN at 8 mEq g-1 catalyst loading of 87.93%, whereas bentonite-ZrP at 10 mEq g-1 showed 86.04% conversion, which suggested that there was a strong positive correlation between the catalyst acidity and the conversion under a particular condition. The biofuel distribution fraction showed that both the catalysts produced a high bio-kerosene fraction, followed by bio-gasoline and oil fuel fractions. The reusability study revealed that both the catalysts had sufficient conversion stability of CPO through the hydrocracking reaction up to four consecutive runs with a low decrease in the catalyst activity. Overall, bentonite-ZrN dominantly favored the hydrocracking of CPO than bentonite-ZrP.