Isopropylation of naphthalene by isopropanol over conventional and Zn- and Fe-modified USY zeolites†
Catalytic performances of USY, MOR, and BEA zeolites were compared for the isopropylation of naphthalene by isopropyl alcohol in a high-pressure, fixed-bed reactor. The USY catalyst showed a high conversion of 86% and good stability but a low 2,6-/2,7-DIPN shape selectivity ratio of 0.94. In contrast, over the MOR catalyst, 2,6-DIPN was selectively synthesized with a high 2,6-/2,7-DIPN ratio of 1.75, but low naphthalene conversions and fast deactivation of the catalyst were observed. The USY catalyst was modified by Zn and Fe using the wet impregnation method to enhance the selectivity for 2,6-DIPN. The highest conversion (~95%) and selectivity for 2,6-DIPN (~20%) were achieved with 4% Zn/USY catalyst. It appeared that small metal oxide islands formed in the USY pores to decrease the effective pore size and thus render it mildly shape-selective. Zn loading also decreased the number of strong acid sites responsible for coke formation and increased the number of weak acid sites. The high conversion and stability of Zn-modified catalysts were ascribed to the presence of a suitable admixture of weak and strong acid sites with less coke deposition. The Fe-modified USY catalysts were less effective because the modification increased the number of the strong acid sites.