Herman Hidayat, Lambok Hlarius Silalahi


An investigation of catalytic activities of Soroako limonite ore using 1liter autoclave
was carried out. The comparison of the results with other iron catalysts for
liquefaction of Banko coal was also performed to find out the best catalyst for
Banko coal liquefaction. Much efforts to improve brown coal liquefaction process
efficiency has been conducted at BPPT since 1994 through the design of highly
active catalysts along with design of good hydrogen donor solvents. Some
previous studies have shown that limonite ore has several superior characteristics
compared to pyrite (FeS2) when used as catalyst in coal liquefaction process. One
main reason is that limonite ore contains both iron and nickel compound as
FeOOH, FeNi2OOH, FeCr2OOH that found to be responsible of high distillate.
The use of natural ore for catalyst will implies that the production of industrial
catalyst for coal liquefaction could be obtained with low production cost. The
results suggest that catalytic activity of Soroako limonite could be achieved at low
temperature around 300 oC or less changing its crystallite form to pyrrhotite (Fe1-
xS) species. Such phenomenon is similar to that of highly active Yandi Yellow
catalyst. Moreover, Soroako limonite catalyst also gives higher oil yield with
smaller amount of hydrogen consumption compare to pyrite and Yandi yellow
catalysts. So it concludes that Soroako limonite has high catalytic activity, and its
soft physical nature makes it possible to be pulverized into sub-micron particle
size easily and economically. Soroako limonite, therefore, can be recommended
as one of the most suitable catalysts for commercial coal liquefaction plant to be
constructed in the future.
Kata kunci: coal liquefaction, soroako limonite, -FeOOH, pyrrhotite, limonite

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