Iron/sulfur-catalyzed coal liquefaction in the presence of alcohol and carbon monoxide

Kazu Aki Hata, Nori Aki Kawasaki, Naokatsu Fuji, Yasunobu Nakagawa, Jun Ichi Hayashi, Yoshihisa Watanabe, Kenji Wada, Take Aki Mitsudo

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


The activities of several iron-based catalyst precursors towards the liquefaction of various kinds of coals, ranging from brown to bituminous, were examined in alcohol-carbon monoxide systems. Pentacarbonyliron (Fe(CO)5) with or without sulfur, or synthetic pyrite were found to be excellent catalyst precursors. Primary alcohols (ethanol and 1-propanol)-CO acted as an effective hydrogen source, whereas branched alcohols were less effective. In the Fe(CO)5/sulfur catalyzed liquefaction of Yallourn coal at 375°C for 120 min, a high conversion (99.5%) was achieved in the presence of ethanol and CO (7.0 MPa/cold). The two-staged reaction (375°C, 60 min + 425°C, 60 min) further improved the oil yield to 59.1% with a slight decrease in the coal conversion. The uptake of alcohol into asphaltene and preasphaltene fractions was distinctly observed, especially for Illinois No. 6 coal. The infrared analyses of the asphaltene fractions from each coal showed absorption at around 1705 cm-1, characteristic for those obtained in the linear alcohol-CO systems. According to the characterization of the products by NMR and the preliminary study using a model compound, alkylation as well as the hydrogenolysis seem to contribute to the dissolution of coals.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)255-267
Number of pages13
JournalFuel Processing Technology
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Feb 1998
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology


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