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Selective Glycerol Oxidation over Ordered Mesoporous Copper Aluminum Oxide Catalysts

Abstract

Glycerol is a major byproduct of the biodiesel production and is therefore produced in high quantities. While currently there are limited possible applications for this highly functionalized molecule, glycerol can be a cheap and abundant feedstock for value added products that are accessible by selective oxidation. Usually, the selective oxidation of glycerol utilizes expensive noble metal catalysts, such as Au, Pt, and Pd. Here we report the selective oxidation of glycerol in basic media, using ordered mesoporous Cu-Al2O3 catalysts with various Cu loadings prepared by a facile soft-templating method. The materials were characterized in detail by nitrogen physisorption, vis-NIR spectroscopy, EDX, low- and wide-angle XRD, XPS, and TEM. Subsequently the reaction conditions for glycerol oxidation were optimized. The catalytic oxidation of glycerol yields C3 products, such as glyceric acid and tartronic acid, and also C2 and C1 products, such as glycolic acid, oxalic acid, and formic acid. Moreover, the role of the solvent on the catalytic reaction was investigated, and the addition of various co-solvents to the aqueous reaction mixture was found to increase the initial reaction rate up to a factor of three. The trends of the initial reaction rates correlate well with the polarity of the water/co-solvent mixtures. The prepared Cu-Al2O3 catalysts are a more cost-efficient and environmentally viable alternative to the reported noble metal catalysts.

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Publication details

The article was received on 19 Jul 2017, accepted on 05 Oct 2017 and first published on 05 Oct 2017


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7CY01451A
Citation: Catal. Sci. Technol., 2017, Accepted Manuscript
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    Selective Glycerol Oxidation over Ordered Mesoporous Copper Aluminum Oxide Catalysts

    S. Schünemann, F. Schüth and H. Tueysuez, Catal. Sci. Technol., 2017, Accepted Manuscript , DOI: 10.1039/C7CY01451A

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