Catalysis Letters

, 141:1254 | Cite as

The Effect of Alkoxide Ionic Liquids on the Synthesis of Dimethyl Carbonate from CO2 and Methanol over ZrO2–MgO

  • Valerie Eta
  • Päivi Mäki-Arvela
  • Eero Salminen
  • Tapio Salmi
  • Dmitry Yu. Murzin
  • Jyri-Pekka Mikkola


The use of carbon dioxide in the synthesis of chemicals, such as dimethyl carbonate (DMC), constitutes an environmentally attractive alternative to hazardous and toxic reagents. However, the direct synthesis of DMC from methanol and CO2 is characterized by low yields due to the reaction equilibrium and the thermodynamic limitations \( \left( {\Updelta G_{298K}^{o} \; = \; + 2 6. 3 {\text{ kJ}}/{\text{mol}}} \right) \). Alkoxide ionic liquids possessing alkylimidazolium and benzalkonium cations were prepared, characterised and tested together with ZrO2–MgO catalyst for the synthesis of DMC from methanol and CO2. By using the novel ionic liquid as additives, ca. 12% conversion of methanol, and 90% selectivity to DMC was obtained at 120 °C and 7.5 MPa. The water abstracting potential of the ionic liquids influenced the conversion of methanol and the selectivity to DMC. The alkoxide ionic liquids were recovered and reused in DMC synthesis without loss in activity and selectivity.

Graphical abstract

Synthesis of DMC from CO2 and methanol catalysed by ZrO2–MgO using ionic liquid alkoxides as water abstracting additives. Comparison of the fresh and regenerated ionic liquid at 120 °C.


Alkoxide ionic liquid Dimethyl carbonate Carbon dioxide Methanol ZrO2–MgO 



This work is part of the activities of Åbo Akademi Process Chemistry Centre within the Finnish Centre of Excellence (2006–2011), and the KETJU research programme (2006–2010) by the Academy of Finland. The authors are grateful to the Academy of Finland for the financial support under the grants 120853, 124357 and 128626. This work is also associated with the activities of Umeå University Chemical-Biological Centre whereupon financial support from Bio4Energy programme, Kempe Foundations and Knut and Alice Wallenberg Foundation are acknowledged.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Valerie Eta
    • 1
  • Päivi Mäki-Arvela
    • 1
  • Eero Salminen
    • 1
  • Tapio Salmi
    • 1
  • Dmitry Yu. Murzin
    • 1
  • Jyri-Pekka Mikkola
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.Laboratory of Industrial Chemistry and Reaction Engineering, Process Chemistry CentreÅbo Akademi UniversityTurku/ÅboFinland
  2. 2.Technical Chemistry, Department of ChemistryChemical–Biological Center, Umeå UniversityUmeåSweden

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