Selective reduction of acetic acid to ethanol over novel Cu 2In/Al2O3 catalyst

György Onyestyák, Szabolcs Harnos, Szilvia Klébert, Magdalena Štolcová, Alexander Kaszonyi, Dénes Kalló

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

34 Citations (Scopus)


Volatile fatty acids (VFAs) can be produced efficiently by simple thermochemical or biological biomass degradation. For the processing of these organic acids in hydrogen atmosphere, the consecutive reactions of acetic acid (AA) hydroconversion were studied in details looking for conditions of selective ethanol production over a novel and advantageous bimetallic composite applying indium as co-catalyst. The reactions were investigated in vapor phase at 240-380°C, 7-21 bar hydrogen and 0.5-3.5 bar acetic acid partial pressures in a fixed bed flow-through reactor using supported copper catalysts. In 2O3 admission can significantly increase AA hydroconversion activity of copper catalysts supported on various oxides and the yield of the produced ethanol. Efficient hydrogenating catalysts, containing finely dispersed metal particles were obtained by in situ reduction with H 2 at 450 °C. In the catalysts modified with In2O 3 additive, formation of an intermetallic compound (Cu2In) was strikingly observed resulting in a different, more advantageous catalytic behavior as of pure copper particles supported on different oxide supports. On comparing a commercial, conventionally used catalysts (Adkins: 72 wt% CuCr 2O4 + 28 wt% CuO) with the bimetallic alumina supported composite (Cu2In/Al2O3) the new catalyst proved to be much more active and selective for producing ethanol. A schematic representation of reactions involved in the hydroconversion of acetic acid was explored and verified. The activity dependence on the reactant partial pressures denotes rate-controlling surface reaction according to Langmuir-Hinshelwood mechanism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)313-321
Number of pages9
JournalApplied Catalysis A: General
Publication statusPublished - Jul 17 2013


  • Acetic acid reduction
  • Copper catalyst
  • Ethanol
  • Ethyl acetate
  • Indium co-catalyst

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Catalysis
  • Process Chemistry and Technology

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