Catalytic deoxygenation of unsaturated fatty acids in the absence of H2 is known to suffer from significant catalyst inhibition. Thus far, no conclusive results have been reported on the cause of deactivation. Here we show that CC double bonds present in the feed or the products dramatically reduce the deoxygenation activity of supported palladium catalysts. In the case of stearic acid deoxygenation the addition of 0.1 equivalents of a mono-unsaturated fatty acid or olefin already reduces the catalytic deoxygenation activity by 60¿%. This effect becomes more pronounced with an increasing number of double bonds. The inhibition is shown to be reversible in H2 atmosphere, indicating no significant contribution from irreversibly deposited hard coke. Furthermore, the type of support material has no apparent effect on catalyst inhibition. Hence we propose that initial catalyst inhibition proceeds through reversible adsorption of CC double bonds on the palladium active sites.
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