Selective hydrogenation of mixed alkyne/alkene streams at elevated pressure over a palladium sulfide catalyst

Alan J. McCue*, Antonio Guerrero-Ruiz, Carolina Ramirez-Barria, Inmaculada Rodríguez-Ramos, James A. Anderson* (Corresponding Author)

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Citations (Scopus)


The Pd4S phase of palladium sulfide is known to be a highly selective alkyne hydrogenation catalyst at atmospheric pressure. Results presented here demonstrate that high selectivity can be retained at the elevated pressures required in industrial application. For example, in a mixed acetylene/ethylene feed, 100% conversion of acetylene was attained with a selectivity to ethylene in excess of 80% at 18 bar pressure. Similarly, almost 85% selectivity can be obtained with mixed C3 feeds containing methyl acetylene, propadiene, propylene and propane at 18 bar pressure. Using a low loaded sample (0.1 wt% Pd) it was possible to estimate the TOF to be 27 s−1. High selectivity was related to the crystal structure of Pd4S with the unique spatial arrangement thought to favour Pd atoms acting in isolation from one another. Based on these results, it is proposed that this catalyst could be a potential replacement for PdAg alloys currently used by industry.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)40-52
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Catalysis
Early online date23 Sept 2017
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2017

Bibliographical note

The support of the Spanish Government (projects CTQ2014-52956-C3-2-R and CTQ2014-52956-C3-3-R) is recognized.


  • Acetylene
  • High pressure
  • Methyl acetylene
  • Palladium sulfide
  • Propadiene
  • Selective hydrogenation


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