Honors Theses and Capstones

Date of Award

Spring 2014

Project Type

Senior Honors Thesis

College or School



Chemical Engineering

Program or Major

Chemical Engineering

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

First Advisor

P. T. Vasudevan


Phenol deoxygenation has been investigated as a model reaction for the deoxygenation of fatty acid methyl esters in biodiesel. Hydrodeoxygenated biodiesel is a drop-in fuel for petroleum diesel, and is a premium diesel with a high cetane number. As the first step in this research, two molybdenum catalysts were prepared, characterized and tested in a small-scale reactor. These catalysts were found to produce small amounts of benzene and cyclohexanol in the product stream, and confirmed the activity of the catalyst. A commercial cobalt molybdenum catalyst (Harshaw HT-400) was also tested and benzene, cyclohexanol, and cyclohexane were identified as products. Future work aims to synthesize catalysts to produce a high yield of cyclohexane. Once the conditions are optimized, we will do tests with biodiesel.