Selective hydrogenation of butadiene over TiO2 supported copper, gold and gold–copper catalysts prepared by deposition–precipitation
Oxide supported copper and gold catalysts are active for the selective hydrogenation of polyunsaturated hydrocarbons but their low activity compared to palladium catalysts and the deactivation of copper catalysts limit their use. There are only a very limited number of studies concerned with the use of bimetallic Au–Cu catalysts for selective hydrogenation reactions and the aim of this work was to prepare TiO2-supported monometallic Au and Cu and bimetallic AuCu (Cu/Au atomic ratio of 1 and 3) catalysts and to evaluate their catalytic performance in the selective hydrogenation of butadiene. Small gold, copper and gold–copper nanoparticles (average particle size < 2 nm) were obtained on TiO2 using the preparation method of deposition–precipitation with urea followed by reduction under H2 at 300 °C. Very small clusters were observed for Cu/TiO2 (∼1 nm) which might result from O2 induced copper redispersion, as also supported by the XPS analyses. The alloying of copper with gold was found to inhibit its redispersion and also limits its reoxidation, as attested by XPS. The bimetallic character of the AuCu nanoparticles was confirmed by XPS and EDX-HAADF. Cu/TiO2 was initially more active than Au/TiO2 in the selective hydrogenation of butadiene at 75 °C but it deactivated rapidly during the first hours of reaction whereas the gold catalyst was very stable up to 20 hours of reaction. The bimetallic AuCu/TiO2 catalysts displayed an activation period during the first hours of the reaction, which was very pronounced for the sample containing a higher Cu/Au atomic ratio. This initial gain in activity was tentatively assigned to copper segregation at the surface of the bimetallic nanoparticles, induced by the reactants. When the AuCu/TiO2 catalysts were pre-exposed to air at 75 °C before butadiene hydrogenation, surface copper segregation occurred, leading to higher initial activity and the suppression of the activation period. Under the same conditions, Cu/TiO2 totally lost its activity, probably due to irreversible copper oxidation.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Size Selected Clusters and Particles: From Physical Chemistry to Catalysis