Catalysis Today, Vol.296, 19-25, 2017
Vapor phase hydrogenolysis of glycerol to 1,2-propanediol at atmospheric pressure over copper catalysts supported on mesoporous alumina
The present work explores the hydrogenolysis of glycerol to produce 1,2-propanediol in vapor phase at atmospheric pressure over copper catalysts supported on mesoporous alumina. Catalysts were prepared by alumina impregnation varying CuO loading between 3 wt% and 30 wt%. The textural and structural characteristics of the catalysts were determined by N-2 sorptometry (BET), powder X-ray diffraction (PXRD), temperature programmed reduction (TPR) and N2O chemisorption (copper metallic area). The characterization showed that all catalysts present textural properties characteristic of mesoporous solids, such as the adsorption isotherms which are type IV. Based both on characterization and activity results, it was possible to conclude that the yield to 1,2-propanediol presented a non-monotonic dependence on total copper metallic area. In addition, it was proved that 1,2-propanediol production is associated with the presence of highly dispersed CuO phase in the solids. Promising results were obtained with CuO(15)Al catalysts, taking into account that the performance can be improved by increasing residence time.