Deactivation dynamics of a Ni supported catalyst during the steam reforming of volatiles from waste polyethylene pyrolysis

Aitor Ochoa, Itsaso Barbarias, Maite Artetxe, Ana G. Gayubo, Martin Olazar, Javier Bilbao, Pedro Castaño*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

92 Scopus citations


The valorization of waste high density polyethylene (HDPE) for hydrogen production has been studied in a two-step process, comprising pyrolysis and subsequent steam reforming of the volatiles produced in the first step. Particularly, this work focuses on the deterioration mechanisms (sintering and coke deposition) of the Ni commercial catalyst used in the second step, as it conditions the overall process performance. Pyrolysis of HDPE has been performed in a conical spouted bed reactor at 500 °C, and the catalytic steam reforming of the pyrolysis volatiles, in a fluidized bed reactor at 700 °C. Deactivated catalyst samples were recovered at different values of time on stream, and characterized using XRD, N2 adsorption-desorption, SEM and TEM electronic microscopies, temperature programmed oxidation (TPO), Raman, FTIR and LDI-TOF MS spectroscopies. The results show that the deactivation is due to the sintering and encapsulation -by coke- of Ni. The former is inevitable within the current conditions, and the latter can be ascribed to the condensation of adsorbed precursors that evolve over time. Encapsulating coke is partially carbonized into filamentous coke with lower effect on catalytic deactivation and higher economic interest.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)554-565
Number of pages12
JournalApplied Catalysis B: Environmental
StatePublished - 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Coke deposition
  • Deactivation
  • HDPE
  • Hydrogen
  • Nickel sintering
  • Pyrolysis
  • Steam reforming

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • General Environmental Science
  • Process Chemistry and Technology


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