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Optimizing vanadium dispersion in mesoporous silicas using different anchoring metal ions for C-C catalytic bond cleavage in lignin degradation

Abstract : The search for practical large-scale, fast, clean and energy saving chemical processes are highly regarded in the frame of a sustainable development, particularly for the most problematic oxidation reactions. Apart from chemical engineering solutions, improving the process using heterogeneous catalysis is one of the most adapted solution. Vanadium being considered the best metal for such kind of reactions, one had to tackle the problem of its high dispersion on a support to minimize its high propensity for leaching and to optimize its stability for practicable, safe and clean uses. In the present thesis, vanadium is supported inside the nanopores of a mesoporous silica of MCM-41 type where the high dispersion is assisted by the presence of anchoring ions such as Al(III), Ti(IV), Zr(IV) and Ce(IV) ions. A large set of V-(Al/Ti/Zr/Ce)-MCM-41 catalysts was prepared according to three different methods of preparation: i) ultra-fast one-pot synthesis protocol using the assistance of microwave, ii) post-synthesis modification using molecular stencil patterning (MSP) technique and iii) partial thermal treatment (PTT) of the organo-silylated support. The catalysts were characterized thoroughly using a panel of physical techniques and, particularly, the blue shift of the optical gap measured from the vanadium charge transfer band known to correlated with the dispersion of the metal. In complement, the stability was tested from metal leaching using methanol as a corrosive solvent while their catalytic reactivity was estimated in the aerobic oxidation of 1,2-diphenyl-2-methoxyethanol. This is a model reaction that simulates the oxidative C-C bond cleavage in lignin, the most difficult and crucial step in the degradation of this biopolymer, then producing in a clean way valuable methoxylated phenoxy propanol units useful for biomass fuels or bio-sourced precursors for fine chemistry. A high throughput screening approach was applied to test this aerobic oxidation reaction running over 96 reactors in parallel at the same temperature and sorting out the best catalysts with the most suitable anchoring ions and metal loading for the highest catalytic efficiency.
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Xinnan Lu. Optimizing vanadium dispersion in mesoporous silicas using different anchoring metal ions for C-C catalytic bond cleavage in lignin degradation. Catalysis. Université de Lyon; East China normal university (Shanghai), 2017. English. ⟨NNT : 2017LYSEN070⟩. ⟨tel-02425998⟩

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