An acrolein production route from ethanol and methanol mixtures over FeMo-based catalysts†
Acrolein is the simplest unsaturated aldehyde, which – due to its high reactivity – has found application as an intermediate in the chemical industry. Nowadays, this chemical is commercially obtained by propylene oxidation, which is based on fossil resources. Herein, an alternative production method starting from methanol and ethanol mixtures is presented. The reaction was performed over FeMo-based catalysts synthesized at different Mo/Fe ratios (i.e., 1.5, 2.0 and 2.5) and calcined at different temperatures (i.e., 350, 400 and 450 °C). The operational conditions were found by a Design of Experiments method, which showed that the most important factor influencing the acrolein yield was the reaction temperature. During these studies the best catalytic performance was observed for FeMo2.5 calcined at 400 °C (i.e., 39%). Catalysts were characterised by different methods (e.g., TGA-DSC, XRD, etc.). Advanced quasi in situ XPS studies have shown that the molybdenum present on the catalyst surface performs the redox cycle during the reaction.