The Tomsk Polytechnic University (TPU) research team proposed to use catalysts based on silver nanoparticles in liquid-phase oxidation of alcohols. This will allow making the process of alcohol oxidation more ecological and cost-effective, comparing with more traditional high-temperature gas-phase oxidation or with toxic reagents.
In the article, published in the journal Fuel, the researchers proved the possibility to use these catalysts based on silver, on the example of the oxidation of octanol and betulin. The derivatives of these substances are valuable products for the chemical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetic industries.
“In the organic synthesis, the alcohol oxidation in the liquid phase is a more green approach, comparing to that in the gas phase. Firstly, it proceeds at lower temperatures, making it less energy-consuming. Secondly, there are no products of complete oxidation, i.e., water and CO2, whose formation indicates a decrease in the reaction selectivity and a decrease in the output of the target product as well”, explained Ekaterina Kolobova, one of the authors of the article, a senior researcher of the Research School of Chemistry & Applied Biomedical Sciences.
Scientists pay particular attention to the use of gold and metals of the platinum group as catalysts in such processes. In the studies TPU scholars used catalysts that are a substrate of titanium oxide. It can be pure or modified by other elements, for example, cerium oxide with silver nanoparticles deposited on its surface.
Using these recently developed nanosilver catalysts the research team has succeeded in obtaining one of the oxo-derivatives of betulin – betulon under conditions close to green chemistry. It means at a temperature below 150°C and avoiding alkaline and initiating additives, which application can entail the formation of undesirable and toxic waste.