In this study fullerene functionalized using oleum (H2SO4·SO3), followed by the hydrolysis of the intermediate cyclosulfated fullerene as well as an oxidizing agent was employed to functionalize the fullerenes. Ruthenium was then added by the impregnation method or deposited on the functionalized fullerene. Subsequent to this step, Response Surface Methodology (RSM) was used to study the cumulative effect of various parameters including, pressure, temperature, time and loading. In order to maximize the hydrogenation of nitrobenzene (NB) to aniline (AN) these latter parameters were optimized. Furthermore, catalytic activity was evaluated over a temperature range of 25–150°C, hydrogen pressure of 1-30 atm, ruthenium content of 1-15%(w/w) and reaction time of 30-180 min in a bench scale reactor. The optimized model predicted that the hydrogenation should be at a maximum level (approximately 100%) with the following conditions; Ru loading of 15%, reaction temperature of 150 °C, reaction time of 180 min and hydrogen pressure of 22.33 atm.