Synthesis of high surface area Cu/SiO2 nanofiber catalysts for non-oxidative ethanol dehydrogenation

06 June 2024, Version 1
This content is a preprint and has not undergone peer review at the time of posting.


Amidst growing concerns over the environmental impact of petroleum-based industries and their contribution to global ecological challenges, there is a pressing need for sustainable alternatives in chemical synthesis. This study addresses this imperative by exploring an innovative catalytic approach for the eco-friendly production of acetaldehyde from ethanol, a crucial chemical feedstock. Catalysts utilized so far perform poorly due to their low stability. Supported copper nanoparticles at higher temperatures suffer from the rapid deactivation caused by nanoparticles sintering and reduction of active sites by coking. To address this issue, the advanced copper nanoparticle-decorated silica nanofibres (107 nm in diameter) with outstanding surface area (700 m2 g−1) were synthesized and tested, showing enhanced stability in comparison to benchmark (Aerosil 300 SiO2/Cu). Two approaches were compared for the preparation of copper catalyst, i.e., dry impregnation and one-pot synthesis. Remarkably, the dry-impregnated DI-9.4 sample at 325 °C after 100 h maintained over 66 % of ethanol conversion with 99 % selectivity to acetaldehyde (acetaldehyde productivity: 3.09 g g h–1). This stability values surpass the benchmark catalyst, which dropped to 40 % of ethanol conversion. Our findings highlight the potential of the superior morphological advantage of electrospun SiO2 nanofibers as an efficient catalyst.


heterogeneous catalyst
ethanol dehydrogenation
copper nanoparticles

Supplementary materials

Supplementary materials to Synthesis of high surface area Cu/SiO2 nanofiber catalysts for non-oxidative ethanol dehydrogenation
Supplementary materials include synthesis details, nitrogen adsorption-desorption data, SEM and STEM-EDS micrographs for all samples, and XPS spectra.


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