Joseph Zeaiter

Joseph Zeaiter

American University Beirut, Lebanon

Title: Mathematical modelling of the aqueous phase reforming of sorbitol


Joseph Zeaiter received his BE in Chemical Engineering from the University of Sydney in 1998. He then obtained a PhD in process systems engineering from the same university in 2003. After his graduation, Dr. Zeaiter joined the process industry, as an advanced process control lead engineer/senior consultant working on projects in oil and gas, petrochemicals, power plants and mining. He worked for Invensys (now Schneider Electric) in APAC and GCC regions and with Process Systems Enterprise in their London office. In 2010, Dr. Zeaiter returned to academia and joined the department of petroleum and chemical engineering at the American University of Beirut. He is currently an assistant professor at AUB and his research interests are centered on the conversion of municipal solid waste (plastic and rubber) into fuel and chemicals. Dr. Zeaiter has more than twenty publications (journal and conference papers) in the areas of pyrolysis, advanced control, process modeling and optimization of polymerization reactors.


This work presents a kinetic model for the aqueous phase reforming of sorbitol that uses a lumping scheme of intermediates and describes the complex path to gas products via a reforming route and liquid oxygenate route including hydrodeoxygenation, decarbonylation and dehydrogenation reactions. The model was tested at temperatures ranging from 473 to 523 K, using monometallic Ni and bimetallic Ni-Pd catalysts supported on γ-Al2O3, ZrO2 and CeO2. The model revealed that the relevant competing paths were a function of the composition of catalyst and the conversion to the carbon gaseous products. Paths of reforming and CO2 methanation were more important than decarbonylation and hydrodeoxygenation at small conversions for all catalysts whereas the hydrodeoxygenation-decarbonylation towards alkanes release was more competitive than the reforming at high conversions with Ni/Al2O3 and Ni-Pd catalysts supported on ZrO2 and CeO2 but was still less competitive with Ni-Pd catalyst supported on γ-Al2O3.

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