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Development of a trapezoidal MgO catalyst for highly-efficient transesterification of glycerol and dimethyl carbonate

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Abstract

A series of micro-sized MgO catalysts with various morphologies have been prepared by varying the reaction temperature and stirring time during precipitation, and were investigated for the production of glycerol carbonate from the transesterification of glycerol with dimethyl carbonate. In contrast to other morphologies of MgO (e.g., rod-like, spherical, flower-like and nest-like), trapezoidal MgO demonstrated a superior performance with a yield of glycerol carbonate of more than 99%. Various techniques including N2 physical adsorption, XRD, CO2 chemical adsorption and EDS revealed that the unique catalytic activity of trapezoidal MgO was related to its lower specific surface area, bigger crystallite size, weaker surface basicity and fewer Mg atom vacancies compared to the other morphologies of MgO. The experimental conditions (e.g., the catalyst amount, solvent, reaction temperature and molar ratio between glycerol and dimethyl carbonate) were also found to play crucial roles in determining the yield of glycerol carbonate. Furthermore, CO2-TPD profiles and FT-IR spectra indicated that the weak surface basic sites occurring at 150 °C and the CO32− stretching vibration around 1448 cm−1 were responsible for the catalytic activity of the developed trapezoidal MgO in regeneration.

Graphical abstract: Development of a trapezoidal MgO catalyst for highly-efficient transesterification of glycerol and dimethyl carbonate

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Publication details

The article was received on 16 May 2018, accepted on 25 Jun 2018 and first published on 25 Jun 2018


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C8CE00808F
Citation: CrystEngComm, 2018, Advance Article
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    Development of a trapezoidal MgO catalyst for highly-efficient transesterification of glycerol and dimethyl carbonate

    Z. Bai, Y. Zheng, W. Han, Y. Ji, T. Yan, Y. Tang, G. Chen and Z. Zhang, CrystEngComm, 2018, Advance Article , DOI: 10.1039/C8CE00808F

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