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The hydrogenation of levulinic acid to γ-valerolactone over Cu-ZrO2 catalysts prepared by a pH-gradient methodology

Orlowski, Igor, Douthwaite, Mark, Iqbal, Sarwat, Hayward, James S., Davies, Thomas E., Bartley, Jonathan K., Miedziak, Peter J., Hirayama, Jun, Morgan, David J., Willock, David J. and Hutchings, Graham J. 2019. The hydrogenation of levulinic acid to γ-valerolactone over Cu-ZrO2 catalysts prepared by a pH-gradient methodology. Journal of Energy Chemistry 36 , pp. 15-24. 10.1016/j.jechem.2019.01.015
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Abstract

A novel pH gradient methodology was used to synthesise a series of Cu–ZrO2 catalysts containing different quantities of Cu and Zr. All of the catalysts were highly selective to the desired product, γ-valerolactone, and are considerably more stable than Cu–ZrO2 catalysts prepared by other co-precipitation methods for this reaction. Characterisation and further investigation of these catalysts by XRD, BET, SEM and XPS provided insight into the nature of the catalytic active site and the physicochemical properties that lead to catalyst stability. We consider the active site to be the interface between Cu/CuOx and ZrOx and that lattice Cu species assist with the dispersion of surface Cu through the promotion of a strong metal support interaction. This enhanced understanding of the active site and roles of lattice and surface Cu will assist with future catalyst design. As such, we conclude that the activity of Cu–ZrO2 catalysts in this reaction is dictated by the quantity of Cu–Zr interface sites.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Cardiff Catalysis Institute (CCI)
Chemistry
Publisher: Elsevier
ISSN: 2095-4956
Funders: European Union FP7
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 5 February 2019
Date of Acceptance: 22 January 2019
Last Modified: 29 Jun 2019 15:38
URI: http://orca-mwe.cf.ac.uk/id/eprint/119189

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