A La-doped Mg–Al mixed metal oxide supported copper catalyst with enhanced catalytic performance in transfer dehydrogenation of 1-decanol
In the present work, a La-doped Mg–Al mixed metal oxide supported copper catalyst (Cu/La–MgAlO) was synthesized through a layered double hydroxide precursor route. The materials were characterized by powder X-ray diffraction, transmission electron microscopy, CO2-temperature programmed desorption, Fourier transform infrared spectra of CO2 absorption, and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy. The results revealed that the introduction of a trace amount of La could significantly improve the surface basicity of the Cu/La–MgAlO catalyst, especially strong Lewis basicity. Compared with the undoped supported Cu catalyst, Cu/La–MgAlO exhibited much higher activity and selectivity in the liquid-phase transfer dehydrogenation of 1-decanol with a 1-decanal yield up to 89%. The excellent catalytic efficiency was mainly ascribed to the surface cooperation between the Lewis basic sites and the adjacent Cu0/Cu+ species. That is, basic sites, especially strong-strength basic sites, held the key to the abstraction of protons from the hydroxyl group in 1-decanol, while the adjacent Cu0 and Cu+ species were responsible for the hydrogen transfer and the adsorption of styrene in the transfer dehydrogenation and hydrogenation reactions, respectively. This study provides a new method for designing cost-effective supported copper-based catalysts highly efficient for the transfer dehydrogenation of primary aliphatic alcohols by modifying the surface basicity of metal oxide supports.