Solvent Additive-Induced Deactivation of the Cu-ZnO(Al2O3)-Catalyzed γ-Butyrolactone Hydrogenolysis: A Rare Deactivation Process

Vanessa Solsona, Silvia Morales-De La Rosa, Oreste De Luca, Harrie Jansma, Bart Van Der Linden, Petra Rudolf, José M. Campos-Martín, María Emma Borges, Ignacio Melián-Cabrera*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)


This work reports initial results on the effect of low concentrations (ppm level) of a stabilizing agent (2,6-di-tert-butyl-4-methylphenol, BHT) present in an off-the-shelf solvent on the catalyst performance for the hydrogenolysis of γ-butyrolactone over Cu-ZnO-based catalysts. Tetrahydrofuran (THF) was employed as an alternative solvent in the hydrogenolysis of γ-butyrolactone. It was found that the Cu-ZnO catalyst performance using a reference solvent (1,4-dioxane) was good, meaning that the equilibrium conversion was achieved in 240 min, while a zero conversion was found when employing tetrahydrofuran. The deactivation was studied in more detail, arriving at the preliminary conclusion that one phenomenon seems to play a role: the poisoning effect of a solvent additive present at the ppm level (BHT) that appears to inhibit the reaction completely over a Cu-ZnO catalyst. The BHT effect was also visible over a commercial Cu-ZnO-MgO-Al2O3 catalyst but less severe than that over the Cu-ZnO catalyst. Hence, the commercial catalyst is more tolerant to the solvent additive, probably due to the higher surface area. The study illustrates the importance of solvent choice and purification for applications such as three-phase-catalyzed reactions to achieve optimal performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15999-16010
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number44
Publication statusPublished - 2021

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