Journal of Sol-Gel Science and Technology

, Volume 88, Issue 1, pp 90–99 | Cite as

One-pot synthesis of Nb-modified Al2O3 support for NiMo hydrodesulfurization catalysts

  • Esneyder Puello-PoloEmail author
  • Edgar Marquez
  • J. L. Brito
Review Paper: Sol–gel and hybrid materials for catalytic, photoelectrochemical, and sensor applications


The effect of Nb as a support modifier on the NiMo6/Al2O3–Nb2O5(x) (x = 0, 1, 4, and 8 wt% Nb) catalysts was studied. The supports were prepared by one-pot coprecipitation from soluble precursors. The XRF analysis of the catalysts showed that the contents of Mo and Ni increased slightly with the presence of Nb. Micropore area and pore volume augmented importantly with Nb content, resulting in pore diameters between 5.3 and 9.3 nm. XPS analysis showed that the presence of Nb decreases the active metal–support interaction, improving the Mo and Ni sulfidation degree. The Raman spectra of sulfided catalysts suggested an increase in the number of layers of MoS2 in the presence of Nb. Generally, the thiophene HDS activity at normal pressure of sulfided NiMo6/Al2O3–Nb2O5(8) was greater than that of the sulfided catalysts with x = 0, 1, and 4 wt% Nb, which can be attributed to the Nb promotion that would have an effect on the type of active site (Brønsted or Lewis acidic sites), since the number of sites by CO chemisorption for sulfided NiMo6/Al2O3–Nb2O5(x) did not show correlation with the catalytic activity. The high-pressure HDS activity of dibenzothiophene was also greater in the presence of Nb, and the hydrogenation route was preferred for the Nb-promoted solid, while the unpromoted one showed a larger yield of direct desulfurization products.


  • The niobium-containing catalyst presented the best catalytic activity.

  • Niobium promotion influenced the type of active site.

  • The presence of Nb improves the sulfidation degree of Mo and Ni.

  • Nb increases the number of Lewis acid sites related to HDS activity.


Anderson-type heteropolyoxomolybdate Hydrodesulfurization Niobia–alumina One-pot synthesis 



The authors would like to acknowledge financial support to Universidad del Atlántico-Colombia (through Project CB21-FGI2016 “7ma Convocatoria 2016”). E.P.P. dedicates this work to Ofelia Polo (R.I.P.).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no conflicts of interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Esneyder Puello-Polo
    • 1
    Email author
  • Edgar Marquez
    • 2
  • J. L. Brito
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Grupo de Investigación en Oxi/Hidrotratamiento Catalítico y Nuevos MaterialesPrograma de Química-Ciencias Básicas Universidad del AtlánticoBarranquillaColombia
  2. 2.Grupo de investigación en Química y BiologíaUniversidad del NorteBarranquillaColombia
  3. 3.Laboratorio de Fisicoquímica de Superficies, Centro de QuímicaInstituto Venezolano de Investigaciones CientíficasCaracasVenezuela
  4. 4.Yachay Tech UniversityUrcuquiEcuador

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