Fully integrated high-throughput methodology for the study of Ni- and Cu-supported catalysts for glucose hydrogenation

A high-throughput (HT) methodology was applied for the synthesis, characterization and catalytic testing of silica and alumina supported Cu- and Ni-based catalysts for glucose hydrogenation. A design of Experiment (DoE) approach was also used in all steps. The deposition and reduction of both metals was performed using the chemical reduction with hydrazine method. In total, 36 catalysts were synthetized, characterized and tested in 5 days. The amount of metal deposited on the support was chosen as the discriminative and determining parameter. The catalysts were tested at low temperature (130 °C) in the hydrogenation of glucose to sorbitol. The results showed that the chemical reduction-precipitation method could be performed using fully automatized robots. The deposition of the metals strongly depended on the nature of the support, the temperature of the reduction and hydrazine/H2O ratio. The maximum metal precipitation occurred at higher temperature (70 °C) and lower N2H4/H2O ratio (0.04 mol/mol) in both cases. The results clearly showed that glucose conversion is higher for the catalysts synthesized at 70 °C compared to the catalysts synthesized at 50 °C, irrespective of the metal precursors, supports and hydrazine/water ratios employed during catalysts syntheses. With a total timespan of around 5 days we showed that HT methods applied to all the steps (synthesis, characterization and testing) can significantly reduce the time needed to develop a new catalytic process.