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Issue 3, 2013
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Sustainable production of acrolein: catalytic performance of hydrated tantalum oxides for gas-phase dehydration of glycerol

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Abstract

A series of tantalum oxide samples (Ta2O5-T) were prepared by varying the calcination temperature T in the range of 110–700 °C of a highly hydrated precursor (Ta2O5·2.1H2O), which was obtained from a hetero-phase reaction between tantalum pentachloride and aqueous ammonia. These Ta2O5-T samples were characterized by TG/DTA, XPS, nitrogen adsorption, XRD, and UV-Raman, and were employed to catalyze the gas-phase dehydration of glycerol (GL) to produce acrolein (AC) at around 315 °C. n-Butylamine titration using Hammett indicators, NH3- and CO2-TPD, and IR of adsorbed pyridine were measured to assess the surface acid–base properties of the catalysts. The Ta2O5-350 catalyst, which was in a hydrated amorphous state and showed no basicity but a maximum strong acidity at −8.2 < H0 ≤ −3.0 (H0 being the Hammett acidity function) prior to the reaction, was identified among all Ta2O5-T samples as the best performing catalyst in terms of AC selectivity and GL consumption rate. The AC selectivity increased with increasing the fractional strong acidity at −8.2 < H0 ≤ −3.0 but the catalytic GL consumption rate increased with increasing the number of strong acid sites on the catalyst prior to the reaction. The partly (Ta2O5-600) and fully (Ta2O5-700) crystallized samples showed almost no strong acidity but they exhibited some basicity in the CO2-TPD experiments; their much lower AC selectivity (<40 mol%) as compared with that on Ta2O5-350 (75 mol%) indicated that surface basicity was detrimental to the AC selectivity. The best performing Ta2O5-350 catalyst also showed after activation in the initial hours of the reaction a good catalytic stability in long term reactions, regardless of the reaction temperature (305–340 °C) and GHSVGL (80–400 h−1).

Graphical abstract: Sustainable production of acrolein: catalytic performance of hydrated tantalum oxides for gas-phase dehydration of glycerol

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
20 Nov 2011
Accepted
19 Dec 2012
First published
14 Jan 2013

Green Chem., 2013,15, 696-705
Article type
Paper

Sustainable production of acrolein: catalytic performance of hydrated tantalum oxides for gas-phase dehydration of glycerol

L. Tao, B. Yan, Y. Liang and B. Xu, Green Chem., 2013, 15, 696
DOI: 10.1039/C2GC16483C

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