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Sylvia Ayu Bethari

Acetic acid, CH3COOH is the simplest carboxylic acid as an intermediate building block for the production of a vast array of chemical compounds. It has colorless liquids, hygroscopic and very corrosive. It is an important chemical reagent and industrial chemical, with high global demand around 6.5 million tons per year (MT/year). In 2011, the global demand was 9.6 MT, and it growth more than 4% per year. In 2015 it will reach up to 11.3 MT/year by Global Industry Analysts, Inc. prediction. Almost 60% market is in Asia, specifically 30% of the world market come from China, 19% in the United States and 6% in Western Europe. Acetic acid is produced industrially both synthetically and by bacterial fermentation. Annual production of acetic acid in the world around 14.6 million tons. The almost production word is by methanol carbonylation around 65%. Monsanto introduce a rhodium catalyzed process to generate acetic acid from methanol. Nowadays, Monsanto process was modified to commercial purpose. BP chemical with CativaTM using rhodium and iridium complex in mild condition around 180 220 C and 30 40 atm, the yield of the acetic acid were 99% and 85% based on methanol and CO consumption. In this reaction there is no side product.

Scheme 1 Cyclic process of acetic acid production using rhodium - iridium catalysist

This process start with rhodium dicarbonyl-diiodide complex [RhI2(CO)2]-1 (A) was added methyl iodide to generate a rhodium-methyl complex (B) as seen at Scheme 1. The methyl do migration to a carbonyl group and generate the acetyl form in complex (C). The addition of CO to this complex generate rhodium acetyl complex (D). To form the acetic acid, its reductive elimination of acetyl iodide in complex D and react with water. This process will liberate the complex (A) again and to complete the cycle. However the excess of water required in this cycles due to the it function to prevent aggregation of ligand. On other hand, the side reaction forming CO2 and H2 from CO and water on water gases system (Scheme 2).

Scheme 2 Cyclic process of water gases system (WGS)

In 2013, Acetic acids application is to produce vinyl acetate monomer (VAM) around 44% and the second largest application is purified terepthalic acid (PTA) is around 18% of world total consumption. Growing demand of both the applications from the end-use industries such as adhesives, sealants, and packaging. Reference : G.J. Sunley, D.J. Watson. Catalysis Today 58 (2000) 293 - 307