Ethanol carbonylation is a potential route to valuable C3 products. Here, Rh supported on porous, Cs-exchanged heteropolyacid Cs3PW12O40, is demonstrated as an effective catalyst for vapor-phase ethanol carbonylation, with higher selectivity and conversion to propionates than existing catalysts. Residual acidity or a Mo polyatom was strongly detrimental to yields. Propionate selectivity was maximized at 96% at 170 °C and with added H2O. The catalyst displayed stable selectivity over 30 h on stream and up to 77% conversion. Ethyl iodide is a required co-catalyst but at levels as low as 2% relative to ethanol. XPS and in situ XANES indicate partial Rh reduction, consistent with the formation of low-valent reactive intermediates and slow deactivation through formation of Rh nanoparticles. With further optimization and understanding, these Rh/heteropolyacid catalysts may lead to stable and selective catalysts for the production of propionates through ethanol carbonylation.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry