Activated carbon aerogels supported copper catalysts for the hydrogenation of methyl acetate to ethanol: Effect of KOH activation
Methyl acetate (MA) hydrogenation is crucial in the indirect ethanol synthesis through syngas (CO+H2). In our work, activated carbon aerogels supported copper (Cu-ACAs) catalysts have been prepared by a conventional impregnation method. The surface area and functional groups of the ACA soared after KOH activation. The highest surface area of the ACA achieved was 2562 m2g-1. The anchoring effect of micropores and external oxygen-containing groups (OCGs) significantly enhanced the metal-support interaction in catalysts, facilitating the high dispersion of Cu and an enhancement in surface Cu+ species, both of which improved catalytic activity of catalysts. Cu-ACAs-A4 showed the most outstanding catalytic performance, with a MA conversion of 95.2% and an ethanol selectivity of 62.2%, close to the carbon equilibrium selectivity of 66.7%.