Optimization of the preparation procedure of Ni/Al2O3 catalyst for steam reforming of n-butane

Document Type: Research Paper


1 Faculty of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, Malek Ashtar University of Technology, Lavizan, P.O. Box 15875-1774, Tehran, Iran

2 malek ashtar university

3 Department of Chemical Technologies, Iranian Research Organization for Science & Technology (IROST), P.O. Box 3353111, Tehran, Iran

4 Department of Chemical and Petroleum Engineering, Sharif University of Technology, Azadi Ave., P.O. Box 11365-9465, Tehran, Iran


Performance of Ni/Al2O3 catalysts (10 wt.% Ni) in steam reforming of n-butane was investigated in terms of n-butane conversion, selectivity to hydrogen and hydrogen yield. The process was carried out in a fixed-bed tubular reactor at 650 °C and atmospheric pressure. The volumetric flow rates of n-butane and steam were 0.1 mL/min and 0.6 mL/min, respectively. The catalysts were prepared by precipitation-sedimentation method at different precipitation, drying and calcination temperatures as well as precursor types. Synthesized catalysts were characterized by scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD) and BET analyses. It was found that Ni- Nitrate as the precursor was more favorable than the other. Mathematical predictive formulas were generated for responses by Design Expert software. Also, the optimum condition of the catalyst preparation was obtained by using the response surface methodology (RSM). Ultimately, it was concluded that the overall optimum condition were: Tprecipitation= 30°C, Tdrying= 115°C, Tcalcination= 700°C .


Main Subjects

(1) Ayabe S, Omoto H, Utaka T, Sasaki K, Kikuchi R, Teraoka Y, Eguchi K. Catalytic autothermal reforming of methane and propane over supported metal catalysts. Applied Catalysis A: General, 2003, 241: 261-269.

(2) Li J, Wang H. Study on CO2 reforming of methane to syngas over Al2O3–ZrO2 supported Ni catalysts prepared via a direct sol–gel process. Chemical Eng. Science, 2004, 59: 4861-4867.

(3) Ruiz J, Passos F, Bueno J, Souza-Aguiar E, Mattos L, Noronha F. Syngas production by autothermal reforming of methane on supported platinum catalysts. Applied Catalysis A: General, 2008, 334: 259-267.

(4) Yoshida K, Begum N, Ito S, Tomishige K. Oxidative steam reforming of methane over Ni/α-Al2O3 modified with trace noble metals. Applied Catalysis A: General, 2009, 358: 186-192.

(5) Al–Fatish A, Fakeeha A.H, Soliman M.A, Siddiqui H, Abasaeed A.E. Coke formation during CO2 reforming of CH4 over alumina-supported nickel catalysts. Applied Catalysis A: General, 2009, 364: 150-155.

(6) Rostrup-Nielsen B.M. Catalytic Steam Reforming. Catalysis Science and Technology. Springer-Verlag, Berlin, 1984,  pp. 1-13.

(7) Rostrup-Nielsen R.N.JR. Activity of nickel catalysts for steam reforming of hydrocarbons. Journal of Catalysis, 1973, 31: 173-199.

(8) Lisboa J, Santos D, Passos F, Noronha F. Influence of the addition of promoters to steam reforming catalysts. Catalysis Today, 2005, 101: 15-21.

(9) Laosiripojana N, Charojrochkul S, Assabumrungrat S. Steam reforming of LPG over Ni and Rh supported on Gd-CeO2 and Al2O3: Effect of support and feed composition. Fuel, 2011, 90: 136-141.

(10) Wang W, Ran R, Su C, Shao Z, Jung D.W, Seo S, Lee S.M. Effect of nickel content and preparation method on the performance of Ni-Al2O3 towards the applications in solid oxide fuel cells. International journal of hydrogen energy, 2011, 36: 10958-10967.

(11) Li B, Watanabe R, Maruyama K, Kunimori K, Tomishige K. Thermographical observation of catalyst bed temperature in steam reforming of methane over Ni supported on α-alumina granules: Effect of Ni precursors. Catalysis Today, 2005, 104: 7-14.

(12) Ahmet D, L.T, Avci K. Hydrogen production by steam reforming of n-Butane over supported Ni and Pt-Ni catalysts. Applied Catalysis, 2004, 258: 235-240.

(13) Jung Y.S, Yoon W.L, Lee T.W, Rhee Y.W, Seo Y.S. A highly active Ni-Al2O3 catalyst prepared by homogeneous precipitation using urea for internal reforming in a molten carbonate fuel cell (MCFC): Effect of the synthesis temperature. International Journal of Hydrogen Energy, 2010, 35: 11237-11244.

(14) Montgomery D.C. Design and Analysis of Experiments, 5th edition, Wiley: New York, 2011, pp. 427-510-.

(15) Zaherian A, Kazemeini M, Aghaziarati M, Alamolhoda S. Synthesis of highly porous nanocrystalline alumina as a robust catalyst for dehydration of methanol to dimethyl ether. Journal of Porous Materials, 2013, 20: 151-157.

(16) Wetwatana U, Kim-Lohsoontorn P, Assabumrungrat S, Laosiripojana N. Catalytic Steam and Auto-thermal Reforming of Used Lubricating Oil (ULO) over Rh- and Ni-Based Catalysts. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2010, 49(21): 10981-10985.

(17) Dokmaingam P, Palikanon T, Laosiripojana N. Effects of H2S, CO2, and O2 on Catalytic Methane Steam Reforming over Ni/CeO2 and Ni/Al2O3 Catalysts. KMUTT Research & Development Journal, 2007, 30(1): 35-47.

(18) Chen Y, Cui P, Xiong G, Xu H. Novel nickel-based catalyst for low temperature hydrogen production from methane steam reforming in membrane reformer. Asia-Pacific Journal of Chemical Engineering, 2010, 5: 93-100.

(19) Selim M.M, El-Maksoud I.H.A. Spectroscopic and catalytic characterization of Ni nano-size catalyst for edible oil hydrogenation. Microporous and Mesoporous Materials, 2005, 85: 273-278.