Facilitating the reduction of V–O bonds on VOx/ZrO2 catalysts for non-oxidative propane dehydrogenation†
Supported vanadium oxide is a promising catalyst in propane dehydrogenation due to its competitive performance and low cost. Nevertheless, it remains a grand challenge to understand the structure–performance correlation due to the structural complexity of VOx-based catalysts in a reduced state. This paper describes the structure and catalytic properties of the VOx/ZrO2 catalyst. When using ZrO2 as the support, the catalyst shows six times higher turnover frequency (TOF) than using commercial γ-Al2O3. Combining H2-temperature programmed reduction, in situ Raman spectroscopy, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy and theoretical studies, we find that the interaction between VOx and ZrO2 can facilitate the reduction of V–O bonds, including VO, V–O–V and V–O–Zr. The promoting effect could be attributed to the formation of low coordinated V species in VOx/ZrO2 which is more active in C–H activation. Our work provides a new insight into understanding the structure–performance correlation in VOx-based catalysts for non-oxidative propane dehydrogenation.