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Effect of Aldehyde and Carboxyl Functionalities on the Surface Chemistry of Biomass-Derived Molecules

Caglar, Basar, Niemantsverdriet, J. W., Weststrate, C. J.
Langmuir 2017 v.33 no.43 pp. 11919-11929
acetaldehyde, acetates, acetic acid, adsorption, ambient temperature, carbon, carbon dioxide, chemical bonding, cleavage (chemistry), decarboxylation, dehydrogenation, hydrogen, methane, spectroscopy, synthesis gas
The adsorption and decomposition of acetaldehyde and acetic acid were studied on Rh(100) to gain insight into the interaction of aldehyde and carboxyl groups of biomass-derived molecules with the surface. Temperature-programmed reaction spectroscopy (TPRS) was used to monitor gaseous reaction products, whereas Reflection absorption infrared spectroscopy (RAIRS) was used to determine the nature of surface intermediates and reaction paths. The role of adsorbate interactions in oxygenate decomposition chemistry was also investigated by varying the surface coverage. Acetaldehyde adsorbs in an η²(C, O) configuration for all coverages, where the carbonyl group binds to the surface via the C and O atoms. Decomposition occurs below room temperature (180–280 K) via C–H and C–C bond breaking, which releases CO, H, and CHₓ species on the surface. At low coverage, CHₓ dehydrogenation dominates and surface carbon is produced alongside H₂ and CO. At high coverage, about 60% of the CHₓ hydrogenates to form methane, whereas only 40% of the CHₓ decomposes further to surface carbon. Acetic acid adsorbs dissociatively on the Rh(100) surface via O–H bond scission, forming a mixture of mono- and bidentate acetate. The decomposition of acetate proceeds via two different pathways: (i) deoxygenation via C–O and C–C bond scissions and (ii) decarboxylation via C–C bond scission. At low coverage, the decarboxylation pathway dominates, a process that occurs at slightly above room temperature (280–360 K) and produces CO₂ and CHₓ, where the latter decomposes further to surface carbon and H₂. At high coverage, both decarboxylation and deoxygenation occur, slightly, above room temperature (280–360 K). The resulting O adatoms produced in the deoxygenation path react with surface hydrogen or CO to form water and CO₂, respectively. The CHₓ species dehydrogenate to surface carbon for all coverages. Our findings suggest that oxygenates with a CO functionality and an alkyl end react on the Rh(100) surface to produce synthesis gas and small hydrocarbons whereas CO₂ and synthesis gas are produced when oxygenates with a COOH functionality and an alkyl end react with the Rh(100) surface. For both cases, carbon accumulation occurs on the surface.