An environmentally friendly Nb–P–Si solid catalyst for acid-demanding reactions

Antonio Aronne, Martino Di Serio, Rosa Vitiello, Nigel J. Clayden, Luciana Minieri, Claudio Imparato, Alessandro Piccolo, Pasquale Pernice, Paolo Carniti, Antonella Gervasini

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Here, we report the structural characteristics, the surface properties, and the catalytic performances of a Nb–P–Si ternary oxide material (2.5Nb2O5·2.5P2O5·95SiO2, 2.5NbP) in two reactions of importance for biomass valorisation and green industrial production: hydrolysis of inulin and esterification of oleic acid with polyalcohol for biolubricant production. High dispersion of the Nb centers, ascertained by UV–vis–DRS, 29Si, 31P, and 1H solid-state NMR spectroscopy, is the key point for the successful activity of 2.5NbP. Intrinsic and effective acidities of the sample were studied by FT-IR of adsorbed pyridine in the absence and presence of water and by volumetric titrations of the acid sites in cyclohexane and in water, to enlighten the nature and amount of acid sites in different environments. For both studied reactions, 2.5NbP catalyst exhibits water-tolerant acidic sites, mainly Brønsted ones, giving higher activity and better stability in the reaction medium than well-known niobium oxophosphate catalyst, which is considered one of the best water-tolerant acid catalysts.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)17378–17389
Number of pages12
JournalThe Journal of Physical Chemistry C
Issue number32
Early online date26 Jul 2017
Publication statusPublished - 17 Aug 2017

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