Vanadium(III) and vanadium(IV) catalysts in a membrane reactor for benzene hydroxylation to phenol and study of membrane material resistance
Benzene hydroxylation to phenol by using vanadium based catalysts and product recovery were performed in a two-phase membrane reactor. Benzene permeates, through the hydrophobic polypropylene membrane, in the aqueous phase containing the catalyst while phenol permeates back accumulating in the organic phase. The following fundamental aspects have been studied: dose of hydrogen peroxide, initial oxidation states of vanadium catalysts, duration of catalytic tests and lifetime of the membrane in terms of physical and chemical resistance. It was observed that feeding the oxidant by a micro pump, working in the “bulk tube” mode, phenol yield, final phenol concentration in the organic phase, phenol turnover number and system productivity increased, and no tar was formed. Initial oxidation state of vanadium catalysts influenced system performance: indeed improved results in terms of yield (35.2% vs. 25.1%), conversion of hydrogen peroxide to phenol (36.6% vs. 25.9%), productivity (0.97 g gcat−1 h−1 vs. 0.78 g gcat−1 h−1) were obtained by using vanadium(III) chloride compared to vanadium(IV) acetyl acetonate. Higher phenol extraction/recovery in the organic phase (61.1% vs. 46.3%) and then higher selectivity (97.5% vs. 92.8%) were obtained by increasing test duration from 270 to 510 min. A weak membrane resistance was observed after 246 h of consecutive catalytic runs on the same membrane piece, showing degradation of the membrane material (polypropylene) caused by the OH radical generated in the reacting mixture.
Graphical abstractFigure optionsDownload full-size imageDownload high-quality image (150 K)Download as PowerPoint slideHighlights► Very low (2.5 mmol h−1) oxidant flow rate gave improved phenol production. ► V(III) chloride compared to V(IV) acetyl acetonate gave higher phenol productivity. ► Increased run duration increased phenol extraction/recovery in the organic phase. ► Degradation of polypropylene membrane was evidenced in long time operation.
Journal: Applied Catalysis A: General - Volumes 437–438, 26 September 2012, Pages 131–138