Topics in Catalysis

, Volume 59, Issue 1, pp 37–45 | Cite as

Effect of Water on Ethanol Conversion over ZnO

  • Muhammad Mahfuzur Rahman
  • Stephen D. Davidson
  • Junming Sun
  • Yong Wang
Original Paper


This work focuses on understanding the role of water on ethanol conversion over zinc oxide (ZnO). It was found that a competitive adsorption between ethanol and water occurs on ZnO, which leads to the blockage of the strong Lewis acid site by water on ZnO. As a result, both dehydration and dehydrogenation reactions are inhibited. However, the extent of inhibition for dehydration is orders of magnitude higher than that for dehydrogenation, leading to the shift of reaction pathway from ethanol dehydration to dehydrogenation. In the secondary reactions for acetaldehyde conversion, water inhibits the acetaldehyde aldol-condensation to crotonaldehyde, favoring the oxidation of acetaldehyde to acetic acid, and then to acetone via ketonization at high temperature (i.e., 400 °C).


Ethanol ZnO Water dissociation Ketonization Aldol-condensation 



We acknowledge the US Department of Energy, Office of Basic Energy Sciences for the financial support, the WSU Franceschi Microscopy Center and Dr. Knoblauch for the use of the TEM. Junming Sun acknowledges the New Faculty Seed Grant support from Washington State University.

Supplementary material

11244_2015_503_MOESM1_ESM.docx (267 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 267 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.The Gene and Linda Voiland School of Chemical Engineering and BioengineeringWashington State UniversityPullmanUSA
  2. 2.Institute for Integrated CatalysisPacific Northwest National LaboratoryRichlandUSA

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