Thesis (M.S., Biological & Agricultural Engineering) -- University of Idaho, December 2014 | A supported Ni catalyst was developed for the selective production of ethanol and 1,2 propanediol (1,2 PDO) from glycerol hydrogenolysis. Screening of various supports showed that Ni/ CeO2 has the best potential and was improved by addition of promoters. Adding Mg at a Ce:Mg molar ratio of 80:20 provided the best improvement for the combined selectivity of ethanol and 1,2 PDO. Ethanol selectivity was further improved to 15.28% by varying Ce:Mg molar ratio to 90:10. The catalyst of 25 wt% Ni/Ce:Mg (9:1) prepared via deposition precipation showed higher activity as compared to the catalyst prepared by impregnation. Catalyst calcined at 350˚C showed better selecitivies of ethanol and 1,2 PDO at 15.61% and 67.3%, respectively. The effects of reaction temperature, initial water content, initial hydrogen pressure, and extension of reaction time were also investigated. The catalyst 25 wt% Ni/Ce:Mg (9:1) showed a better potential as compared to the commercial Raney® Ni catalyst.