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Issue 18, 2017
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Synthesis of ethanol from paraformaldehyde, CO2 and H2

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Ethanol is an important bulk chemical and alternative fuel that is currently synthesized by catalytic hydration of ethylene or fermentation of foods. CO2 is a cheap and renewable carbon resource. Transformation of CO2 into useful chemicals is an interesting topic in green chemistry. Production of ethanol using CO2 and H2 is a promising route, but the efficiency of the reaction is not satisfactory. In this paper, we propose a protocol to synthesize ethanol from paraformaldehyde, CO2 and H2. The reaction could be efficiently accelerated by a Ru–Co bimetallic catalyst using LiI as the promoter in 1,3-dimethyl-2-imidazolidinone (DMI) under mild conditions. The selectivity of ethanol in total products reached 50.9 C-mol%, which was obviously higher than that of the reported routes. Furthermore, the TOF of ethanol based on Ru metal was as high as 17.9 h−1. To our knowledge, this is the first report on ethanol synthesis from paraformaldehyde, CO2 and H2. A detailed study indicated that the outstanding results of the reaction originated from the synergy of paraformaldehyde hydrogenation, reverse water gas shift reaction and methanol homologation.

Graphical abstract: Synthesis of ethanol from paraformaldehyde, CO2 and H2

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The article was received on 23 Jun 2017, accepted on 07 Aug 2017 and first published on 18 Aug 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7GC01887H
Citation: Green Chem., 2017,19, 4396-4401
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    Synthesis of ethanol from paraformaldehyde, CO2 and H2

    J. Zhang, Q. Qian, M. Cui, C. Chen, S. Liu and B. Han, Green Chem., 2017, 19, 4396
    DOI: 10.1039/C7GC01887H

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