Dehydration of methanol and ethanol in the gas phase over heteropoly acid catalysts

Alharbi, WN
(2017) Dehydration of methanol and ethanol in the gas phase over heteropoly acid catalysts. Doctor of Philosophy thesis, University of Liverpool.

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The aim of this thesis is to investigate heterogeneous catalysis for the dehydration of methanol and ethanol at a gas-solid interface over a wide range of solid Brønsted acid catalysts based on Keggin-type heteropoly acids (HPAs), focussing on the formation of dimethyl ether (DME) and diethyl ether (DEE), respectively. The dehydration of methanol to dimethyl ether (DME) was studied over a wide range of bulk and supported HPAs and was compared with the reaction over HZSM-5 zeolites (Si/Al = 10−120). Turnover rates for these catalysts were measured under zero-order reaction conditions. The HPA catalysts were demonstrated to have much higher catalytic activities than the HZSM-5 zeolites. A good correlation between the turnover rates and catalyst acid strengths, represented by the initial enthalpies of ammonia adsorption, was established. This correlation holds for the HPA and HZSM-5 catalysts studied, which indicates that the methanol-to-DME dehydration occurs via the same (or a similar) mechanism with both HPA and HZSM-5 catalysts, and that the turnover rate of methanol dehydration for both catalysts is primarily determined by the strength of catalyst acid sites, regardless of the catalyst pore geometry. Dehydration of ethanol was also studied over a wide range of solid Brønsted acid catalysts based on Keggin-type HPAs in a continuous flow fixed-bed reactor in the temperature range of 90-220 oC. The catalysts included H3PW12O40 (HPW) and H4SiW12O40 (HSiW) supported on SiO2, TiO2, Nb2O5 and ZrO2 with sub-monolayer HPA coverage, as well as bulk acidic Cs salts of HPW (Cs2.5H0.5PW12O40 and Cs2.25H0.75PW12O40) and the corresponding core-shell materials with the same total composition (15%HPW/Cs3PW12O40 and 25%HPW/Cs3PW12O40, respectively) comprising HPW supported on the neutral salt Cs3PW12O40. The ethanol-to-DEE reaction was found to be zero order in ethanol in the range of 1.5-10 kPa ethanol partial pressure. The acid strength of the catalysts was characterised by ammonia adsorption microcalorimetry. A fairly good correlation between the catalyst activity (turnover frequency) and the catalyst acid strength (initial enthalpy of ammonia adsorption) was established, which demonstrates that Brønsted acid sites play an important role in ethanol-to-DEE dehydration over HPA catalysts. The acid strength and the catalytic activity of core-shell catalysts HPW/Cs3PW12O40 did not exceed those of the corresponding bulk Cs salts of HPW with the same total composition, which contradicts the claims in the literature of the superiority of the core-shell HPA catalysts.

Item Type: Thesis (Doctor of Philosophy)
Divisions: Faculty of Science and Engineering > School of Physical Sciences > Chemistry
Depositing User: Symplectic Admin
Date Deposited: 21 Dec 2017 12:51
Last Modified: 19 Jan 2023 06:51
DOI: 10.17638/03011109