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Glycerol Hydrogenolysis to 1,2-Propanediol by Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 Catalysts

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Abstract

The effect of preparation methods on the Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst structure and catalytic activity on liquid glycerol hydrogenolysis to 1,2-propanediol has been investigated. The physicochemical properties of the catalysts were characterized by BET, XRD, TG/DTA, NH3-TPD and TPR. The experimental results showed that the catalyst prepared by an oxalate gel–coprecipitation had the highest activity. At 200 °C and 400 psi hydrogen pressure, the glycerol conversion and 1,2-propanediol selectivity catalyzed by the Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst prepared via oxalate gel–coprecipitation were 92.3 and 94.5 % respectively. It was found that the 1,2-propanediol selectivity was dependent on hydrogen pressure and the un-desired by-products were mainly due to the side reactions caused by the presence of the intermediate acetol.

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Acknowledgments

The financial support from Natural Science and Engineer Research Council of Canada (NSERC) Discovery Grant Program is gratefully acknowledged.

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Correspondence to Flora T. T. Ng.

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Liu, Y., Pasupulety, N., Gunda, K. et al. Glycerol Hydrogenolysis to 1,2-Propanediol by Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 Catalysts. Top Catal 57, 1454–1462 (2014). https://doi.org/10.1007/s11244-014-0318-0

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Keywords

  • Glycerol
  • Hydrogenolysis
  • Oxalate gel–coprecipitation
  • Cu/ZnO/Al2O3 catalyst