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Issue 79, 2019
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The catalytic and radical mechanism for ethanol oxidation to acetic acid

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Abstract

Au/TiO2 is a much-used catalyst for the conversion of ethanol to acetic acid. The proposed mechanism speaks of two essential reaction steps on the catalytic surface. The first is the ethanol to acetaldehyde and the second the acetaldehyde to acetic acid. When operating in the gas phase, acetic acid is usually absent. This work focuses on determining what triggers the second step by comparing the ethanol with acetaldehyde oxidation and the liquid with gas-phase reaction. We propose an updated reaction mechanism: acetaldehyde autoxidises non-catalytically to acetic acid, likely driven by radicals. The requirement for the autoxidation is the presence of oxygen and water in the liquid-phase. The understanding of the interplay between the catalytic ethanol to acetaldehyde and the following non-catalytic reaction step provides guiding principles for the design of new and more selective alcohol oxidation catalysts.

Graphical abstract: The catalytic and radical mechanism for ethanol oxidation to acetic acid

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Publication details

The article was received on 26 Jul 2019, accepted on 27 Aug 2019 and first published on 02 Sep 2019


Article type: Communication
DOI: 10.1039/C9CC05813C
Chem. Commun., 2019,55, 11833-11836
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
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    The catalytic and radical mechanism for ethanol oxidation to acetic acid

    S. Mostrou, A. Nagl, M. Ranocchiari, K. Föttinger and J. A. van Bokhoven, Chem. Commun., 2019, 55, 11833
    DOI: 10.1039/C9CC05813C

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