In the present study, Ni/Ce-Sm-xCu (x = 5, 7, 10 at.%) catalysts were prepared using microwave radiation coupled with sol-gel and followed by wetness impregnation method for the Ni incorporation. Highly dispersed nanocrystallites of CuO and NiO on the Ce-Sm-Cu support were found. Increase of Cu content seems to facilitate the reducibility of the catalyst according to the H₂ temperature-programmed reduction (H₂-TPR). All the catalysts had a variety of weak, medium and strong acid/basic sites that regulate the reaction products. All the catalysts had very high XC3H8O3 for the entire temperature (400⁻750 °C) range; from ≈84% at 400 °C to ≈94% at 750 °C. Ni/Ce-Sm-10Cu catalyst showed the lowest XC3H8O3-gas implying the Cu content has a detrimental effect on performance, especially between 450⁻650 °C. In terms of H₂ selectivity (SH2) and H₂ yield (YH2), both appeared to vary in the following order: Ni/Ce-Sm-10Cu > Ni/Ce-Sm-7Cu > Ni/Ce-Sm-5Cu, demonstrating the high impact of Cu content. Following stability tests, all the catalysts accumulated high amounts of carbon, following the order Ni/Ce-Sm-5Cu < Ni/Ce-Sm-7Cu < Ni/Ce-Sm-10Cu (52, 65 and 79 wt.%, respectively) based on the thermogravimetric analysis (TGA) studies. Raman studies showed that the incorporation of Cu in the support matrix controls the extent of carbon graphitization deposited during the reaction at hand.
Keywords: H2 production; Ni supported catalysts; Sm-Cu-doped CeO2; glycerol steam reforming; ternary oxides.