Design, Synthesis and Characterization of Novel Nano-Metal Catalysts for Polyol Hydrogenolysis

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This invention is a novel catalyst made up of a support, a linker, and a ruthenium catalyst nanoparticle. The invention covers not only synthesis of the catalyst but also methods of performing hydrogenolysis with the catalyst.


The study of catalyst compositions is important to create catalysts that can operate in a wide range of temperatures and pressures during a catalyst reaction.  Many reactions must be carried out at high temperatures and pressures for catalyst productivity, so it is advantageous to develop catalysts that can work at lower temperatures and pressures without affecting performance.  At a most basic level, catalyst compositions can include a catalyst, a support, and a link that connects the catalyst with the support.  Different materials and combinations of materials can be used to create such a catalyst with optimum low temperature characteristics for certain applications.


This process has can be used to convert abundantly available cellulosic materials to C-6 alcohols which are renewable building blocks for chemicals. The polyols can also be used for hydrogen production by aqueous phase reforming for fuel cell applications.

How it works:

The catalyst composition includes a support; a ruthenium catalyst nanoparticle (Ru); and a linker, stable under hydrogenolysis conditions, that is used to link the support and the Ru nanoparticle.  The linker can be 3-aminopropyl trimethoxysilane (APTS), phosphotungstic acid (PTA), or similar agents and derivatives. The Ru catalyst can be then be used to convert cellulosic materials to polyols in a single pot through hydrogenolysis.


Hydrogenolysis of cellulosic materials is often limited by hydrogen availability in the liquid phase of the reaction.  Use of an alcohol as a co-solvent improves hydrogen solubility and thus hydrogenolysis efficienty in the presence of a Ru catalyst.

Why it is better:

The catalyst composition and reaction conditions offer an improved hydrogenolysis efficiency.

Other Applications:

The energy sector as well as the materials sector will benefit from this technology as catalysts to utilize organic starting materials is universally desired.

Licensing Associate:

Aswini Betha, PhD · · 785-864-1775



Additional Information


  • Bala Subramaniam
  • Debdut Roy
  • Raghunath Chaudhari
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