Ru Promoted MgO and Al-Modified MgO for Ethanol Upgrading

  • Henrique P. Pacheco
  • Eugenio F. de Souza
  • Sandra M. Landi
  • Marcus V. David
  • J. Tyler Prillaman
  • Robert J. Davis
  • Fabio S. TonioloEmail author
Original Paper


Mg-containing oxides are widely studied as effective catalysts for ethanol upgrading due to their capacity to promote dehydrogenation and coupling reactions. In such systems, the dehydrogenation of ethanol to acetaldehyde is thought to be the rate-determining step, so that the addition of dehydrogenation promoters onto the oxides could be a good way of optimizing the catalysts. Herein, we propose a systematic screening of different catalysts (MgO, Ru/MgO, MgxAlOy, and Ru/MgxAlOy) in order to understand the roles of Ru and of the oxides in the several parallel reactions that occur in the systems. We investigated the catalysts by spectroscopic, textural and bench-scale techniques to correlate microscopic results with macroscopic findings. The insertion of Al into the MgO framework improved activity and product distribution towards ethene. Ru increased ethanol conversion in the systems, but directed the product distribution towards methane.


Ethanol upgrading Magnesium oxide Ruthenium DRIFTS 



The authors thank CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico) for providing scholarships and supporting this work. This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior – Brasil (CAPES) – Finance Code 001. The authors thank INMETRO (Instituto Nacional de Metrologia, Qualidade e Tecnologia) and INT (Instituto Nacional de Tecnologia) respectively for the HRTEM and XPS analyses. RJD and JTP acknowledge support by the Chemical Sciences, Geosciences and Biosciences Division, Office of Basic Energy Sciences, Office of Science, U.S. Department of Energy, Grant No. DE-FG02-95ER14549.

Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Supplementary material

11244_2019_1177_MOESM1_ESM.docx (394 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 394 kb)


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© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Chemical Engineering Program of COPPE/UFRJFederal University of Rio de JaneiroRio De JaneiroBrazil
  2. 2.National Institute of Metrology, Standardization and Industrial Quality, Inmetro/DimatXerémBrazil
  3. 3.Federal University of Rio de Janeiro, Grupo de Materiais Condutores de Energia, Centro de Tecnologia, EQ, Bl. E – 149, IFundão, Rio De JaneiroBrazil
  4. 4.Department of Chemical EngineeringUniversity of VirginiaCharlottesvilleUSA

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