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Issue 5, 2015
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Continuous catalytic upgrading of ethanol to n-butanol and >C4 products over Cu/CeO2 catalysts in supercritical CO2

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Abstract

n-Butanol (BuOH) often has superior properties as a bio-fuel compared to ethanol (EtOH). However finding sustainable sources of BuOH is proving difficult. In this paper, direct production of BuOH from EtOH is compared over custom-synthesized six Cu catalysts, supported on different solid acids. These catalysts were tested in a continuous flow supercritical CO2 (scCO2) reactor, and were found to catalyse the dehydrogenation, aldol condensation and hydrogenation steps of the so-called Guerbet reaction converting EtOH to BuOH. BuOH yields and selectivities were significantly different over the four catalysts. Cu on high surface area CeO2 showed the best activity for BuOH formation, with yields above 30% achieved with good selectivity. In addition high pressure CO2 is shown to have a positive effect on the reaction, possibly due to the redox cycle of Ce2O3 and CeO2.

Graphical abstract: Continuous catalytic upgrading of ethanol to n-butanol and >C4 products over Cu/CeO2 catalysts in supercritical CO2

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
10 Feb 2014
Accepted
09 Mar 2015
First published
09 Mar 2015

This article is Open Access

Green Chem., 2015,17, 3018-3025
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Continuous catalytic upgrading of ethanol to n-butanol and >C4 products over Cu/CeO2 catalysts in supercritical CO2

J. H. Earley, R. A. Bourne, M. J. Watson and M. Poliakoff, Green Chem., 2015, 17, 3018
DOI: 10.1039/C4GC00219A

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