the amount of adsorbed hydrogen depends on the grade of nickel used – Johnson Matthey have at least 30 and more if you ask nicely. Grace (who own “Raney” as it’s a trademark) have their own grades again. Each has their own merits.
Even though desulfurisation is catalytic, an excess of nickel is usually required.
I’ve had some nice selectivity enhancements through using the aluminium-nickel alloy with the substrate and controlled addition of NaOH – this makes Raney nickel in situ and generates hydrogen simultaneously, hence why controlled addition helps. Add the NaOH too fast and you lose too much hydrogen and gain a large exotherm!
In my experience the Raney slurry is usually basic due to the process.
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