Supercritical water gasification of RDF and its components over RuO2/γ-Al2O3 catalyst: new insights into RuO2 catalytic reaction mechanisms

Jude A. Onwudili*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Five samples including a composite refuse derived fuel (RDF) and four combustible components of municipal solid wastes (MSW) have been reacted under supercritical water conditions in a batch reactor. The reactions have been carried out at 450 °C for 60 min reaction time, with or without 20 wt% RuO2/gamma-alumina catalyst. The reactivities of the samples depended on their compositions; with the plastic-rich samples, RDF and mixed waste plastics (MWP), giving similar product yields and compositions, while the biogenic samples including mixed waste wood (MWW) and textile waste (TXT) also gave similar reaction products. The use of the heterogeneous ruthenium-based catalyst gave carbon gasification efficiencies (CGE) of up to 99 wt%, which was up by at least 83% compared to the non-catalytic tests. In the presence of RuO2 catalyst, methane, hydrogen and carbon dioxide became the dominant gas products for all five samples. The higher heating values (HHV) of the gas products increased at least two-fold in the presence of the catalyst compared to non-catalytic tests. Results show that the ruthenium-based catalyst was active in feedstock steam reforming, methanation and possible direct hydrogenolysis of C-C bonds. This work provides new insights into the catalytic mechanisms of RuO2 during SCWG of carbonaceous materials, along with the possibility of producing high yields of methane from MSW fractions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)157-169
Number of pages13
Early online date3 May 2016
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2016

Bibliographical note

© 2016, Elsevier. Licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International

Supplementary data available on the journal website.


  • mechanisms
  • methane
  • MSW
  • ruthenium catalysis
  • supercritical water gasification

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