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ChemSusChem. 2018 Feb 22;11(4):681-687. doi: 10.1002/cssc.201702411. Epub 2018 Feb 8.

Selective Hydrodeoxygenation of Alkyl Lactates to Alkyl Propionates with Fe-based Bimetallic Supported Catalysts.

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Centre for Catalysis and Sustainable Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Technical University of Denmark, DK-2800 Kgs., Lyngby, Denmark.
State-Local Joint Engineering Lab for Comprehensive Utilisation of Biomass, Center for R&D of Fine Chemicals, Guizhou University, Guiyang, Guizhou, 550025, P. R. China.
Laboratory of Bioproduct Chemistry, Center of Innovative and Applied Bioprocessing (CIAB), Mohali, 140 306, Punjab, India.


Hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of methyl lactate (ML) to methyl propionate (MP) was performed with various base-metal supported catalysts. A high yield of 77 % MP was obtained with bimetallic Fe-Ni/ZrO2 in methanol at 220 °C and 50 bar H2 . A synergistic effect of Ni increased the yield of MP significantly when using Fe-Ni/ZrO2 instead of Fe/ZrO2 alone. Moreover, the ZrO2 support contributed to improve the yield as a phase transition of ZrO2 from tetragonal to monoclinic occurred after metal doping giving rise to fine dispersion of the Fe and Ni on the ZrO2 , resulting in a higher catalytic activity of the material. Interestingly, it was observed that Fe-Ni/ZrO2 also effectively catalyzed methanol reforming to produce H2 in situ, followed by HDO of ML, yielding 60 % MP at 220 °C with 50 bar N2 instead of H2 . Fe-Ni/ZrO2 also catalyzed HDO of other short-chain alkyl lactates to the corresponding alkyl propionates in high yields around 70 %. No loss of activity of Fe-Ni/ZrO2 occurred in five consecutive reaction runs demonstrating the high durability of the catalyst system.


alkyl lactate; alkyl propionate; base-metal catalysts; heterogeneous catalysis; value-added chemicals

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