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Selectivity Control during the Single-Step Conversion of Aliphatic Carboxylic Acids to Linear Olefins

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Yeap Jher Hau, Héroguel Florent, Shahab Robert L., Rozmysłowicz Bartosz, Studer Michael H., Luterbacher Jeremy S.,
Project Consolidated bioprocessing of lignocellulosic biomass for production of lactic acid and mixed carboxylic acids as fuel precursor
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal ACS Catalysis
Volume (Issue) 8(11)
Page(s) 10769 - 10773
Title of proceedings ACS Catalysis
DOI 10.1021/acscatal.8b03370


We have studied the single-step catalytic conversion of biomass-derived aliphatic carboxylic acids to linear olefins via tandem hydrogenation/dehydration reactions. Hexanoic acid was converted to a mixture of hexenes (92.0% selectivity) over silica alumina supported Cu nanoparticles. Remarkably, we observed a rapid selectivity switch to 99.8% hexane once carboxylic acids were fully consumed, with similar results using butanoic acid derived from biomass using consolidated bioprocessing. Based on intermediate, desorption, and in situ spectroscopy studies, we propose that the presence of a small amount of carboxylic acid on the catalyst surface leads to a dramatic decrease in overhydrogenation of olefins.