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Guaiacol Hydrodeoxygenation Mechanism on Pt(111): Insights from Density Functional Theory and Linear Free Energy Relations

Lee, Kyungtae, Gu, Geun Ho, Mullen, Charles A., Boateng, Akwasi A., Vlachos, Dionisios G.
CHEMSUSCHEM 2015 v.8 no.2 pp. 315-322
adsorption, carbon, catechol, energy, guaiacol, hydrogenation, phenol
Density functional theory is used to study the adsorption of guaiacol and its initial hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) reactions on Pt(111). Previous Brønsted–Evans–Polanyi (BEP) correlations for small open-chain molecules are inadequate in estimating the reaction barriers of phenolic compounds except for the side group (methoxy) carbon-dehydrogenation. New BEP relations are established using a select group of phenolic compounds. These relations are applied to construct a potential-energy surface of guaiacol-HDO to catechol. Analysis shows that catechol is mainly produced via dehydrogenation of the methoxy functional group followed by the CHx (x<3) removal of the functional group and hydrogenation of the ring carbon, in contrast to a hypothesis of a direct demethylation path. Dehydroxylation and demethoxylation are slow, implying that phenol is likely produced from catechol but not through its direct dehydroxylation followed by aromatic carbon-ring hydrogenation.