Catalytic depolymerization of date palm waste to valuable C5–C12 compounds

Emmanuel Galiwango, Ali H. Al-Marzuoqi, Abbas A. Khaleel, Mahdi M. Abu-Omar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

1 Citation (Scopus)


Lignin depolymerization often requires multiple isolation steps to convert a lignocellulose matrix into high-value chemicals. In addition, lignin structural modification, low yields, and poor product characteristics remain challenges. Direct catalytic depolymerization of lignocellulose from date palm biomass was investigated. Production of high value chemicals heavily depends on optimization of different parameters and method of conversion. The goal of the study was to elucidate the role of different parameters on direct conversion of date palm waste in a bench reactor, targeting valuable C5–C12 compounds. The catalytic performance results demonstrated better liquid yields using a commercial alloy catalyst than with laboratory-prepared transition metal phosphide catalysts made using nickel, cobalt, and iron. According to the gas chromatography-mass spectrometry results, C7–C8 compounds were the largest product fraction. The yield improved from 3.6% without a catalyst to 68.0% with a catalyst. The total lignin product yield was lower without a catalyst (16.0%) than with a catalyst (76.0%). There were substantial differences between the carbon distributions from the commercial alloy catalyst, supported transition metal phosphide catalyst, and cat-alyst-free processes. This may be due to differences between reaction pathways. Lab-made catalysts cracked the biomass to produce more gases than the alloy catalyst. The final pressure rose from 2 bar at the start of the experiment to 146.15 bar and 46.50 bar after the respective reactions. The par-ticle size, solvent type, time, temperature, gas, and catalytic loading conditions were 180 µm, meth-anol, 6 h, 300 °C, nitrogen, and 5 wt %, respectively. The results from this study provide a deep understanding of the role of different process parameters, the positive attributes of the direct conversion method, and viability of date palm waste as a potential lignocellulose for production of high-value chemicals.

Original languageEnglish
Article number371
Pages (from-to)1-22
Number of pages22
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


  • Catalysis
  • Depolymerization
  • Direct conversion process
  • High-value chemicals
  • Lignocellulose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Physical and Theoretical Chemistry


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