Natural Celluloses as Catalysts in Dehydrogenation of NaBH4 in Methanol for H2 Production

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Cellulose, the most abundant renewable biopolymer, exists in many forms, such as microgranular cellulose (MGCell), sigmacell cellulose (SCell), cellulose fibers (FCell), and α-cellulose (AlfaCell). Several of these cellulose forms were protonated with an amine-containing agent polyethyleneimine (PEI), and the modified celluloses (XCell-PEI+) were studied as catalysts in methanolysis of NaBH4 for hydrogen (H2) generation. It was found that the SCell-PEI+-catalyzed reaction is the fastest one among the modified celluloses with a hydrogen generation rate of 5520 ± 119 mL H2/(g of catalyst × min). The activation energies of MGCell-PEI+, SCell-PEI+, FCell-PEI+, and AlfaCell-PEI+ were determined as +21.7, +23.4, +24.8, and + 21.8 kJ/mol, respectively. Reusability of catalysts was investigated, and regeneration of cellulose based catalysts after the fifth cycle could be readily achieved by HCl treatment to completely recover its activity. Therefore, PEI-modified-protonated cellulose forms constitute sustainable, re-generable, and renewable catalysts for production of H2, an environmentally benign green energy carrier.

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ACS Omega, v. 5, issue 25, p. 15519-15528