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ChemicalEngiau~edngScience,Vol. 51, NO. II,pp. 2933-2935, 1996
Copyright O 1996 Elsevier Scien~ Ltd Pdnt~l in Great Britain. All r i ~ t s
CATALYST DEVELOPMENT FOR THE SELECTIVE METHYLATION OF CATECHOL S. PORCHET, L. KIWI-MINSKER, R. DOEPPER, A. RENKEN Institut de G-tnie Chimique, Ecole PolyteclmiqueF~dtrale de Lausanne, CH-1015 Lausanne, Switzerland Abstract - Gas-phase alkylation of catechol with methanol on T-alumina and modified "t-alumina catalysts is studied experimentally. By limiting the conversion to X < 0.3, the formation of polymethylated species can be avoided and only the three isomers guaiacol, 3-methylcatechol and 4-methylcatechol are observed. Optimising the catalyst composition and the reaction conditions, a selectivity of 0.75 for the industrially most valuable product 3-methylcatechol can be obtained. INTRODUCTION Synthesis of alkylcatechols is an important process in f'me chemicals production. These substances are widely used in the synthesis of flavouring agents, agricultural chemicals and pharmaceuticals (Fiege et al., 1991). Previously T-AI203 was found to be an effective catalyst for the gas-phase methylation of catechol with methanol as methylation agent (Porchet et al., 1993). The reaction leads to many different alkylated products. The reaction conditions have been optimised to avoid the formation of polymethylated products.
+ CH3OH (AI)
Fig. 1 Reaction scheme of catechol methylation The three primary products are guaiacol (A2), 3-methylcatechol (A3), 4-methylcatechol (A4); they are formed by primary methylation of catechol (A1). At low conversion and in the temperature range of 260-310°C, the oxygenalkylation is favoured, e. g. the main product is guaiacol. The carbon-alkylation is mainly ortho-selective. Previous studies of phenol alkylation with methanol showed that this type of reaction is very sensitive to the acidic and basic properties of the catalyst surface (Tanabe et al., 1976; Vein et al., 1994). Different metal ions as 2+ + .+ 2+ • 3+ Ca , K , L I , Mg or runs as B and F are added to y-alumina in order to modify these surface properties (Lercher et al., 1984; Berteau et al., 1987, 1989; Jurczyk et al., 1989). The purpose of this work is to increase the selectivity for the 3-methylcatechol through a catalyst modification.
Pure T-alumina (AI-3982, Engelhard, NL) is used as starting material. The modified catalysts are prepared by wet capillary impregnation with aqueous solutions of nitrate salts. H3BO3 and NH4F solutions are used in the case of B 3+and F" impregnation.
2 Schematic layout of the experimental apparatus The reaction mixture is condensed at the reactor outlet and collected for analysis.Ol.10-2 < Fo < 10 mol.bs oho o. ~.0.min -I. The concentration of the solutions are adjusted to get the required ratio ion/A13+ (atomic-%) by varying the amount of nitrates added to y-alumina. o. O. flow rate = 1 ml.2934 S. 2).-alumina is dried at 200°C for 2 hours.3 kPa in a stainless steel tubular fixed-bed reactor (Fig. The signals are observed with U V detection at L = 270 nm. After 8 hours at 50°C the impregnated samples are calcinated in air during 8 hours at 620°C. temperature = 270"C.o= 12.04 r . To change the residence time in the reactor. operating pressure = 18 MPa).kgrnol1] Fig.02. X }4 0.7 kPa. Apparatus and catalytic test The reactants are premixed with water and the solutions are fed into the evaporator using a micro-feed pump. 0.( condense~ condensate receiver for analysis Fig.. P~. The product distribution is determined quantitatively by HPLC: the separation is accomplished at room temperature on a Nucleosil 5 C~ column (mobile phase CH3CN:H20 = 1:9 molar ratio. Pl. Before impregnation. the molar inlet flow (Fo) and the catalyst mass (m c.t) are varied in the range of 5. P6. PORCHEre t al.03.3 Differential conversion and yields on -/-alumina after initial deactivation.o = 76. ator bed r ><1 vent . The catalytic reaction is carried out in the temperature range of 260-310°C and at 101.7 kPa. z' [h.10 : < mcat < 3"10-1 kg.'15 oN 0}5 t~dmce tin~ of cat~aol.h l and 2.o = 12.0 kPa .
o/x' si. The catalytic activity. IF / 7-A1203 3+ B / ?-A1203 Ca 2+ / ?-A1203 K + / ?-A1203 Li + / y-AI203 Mg 2+/ ?-A1203 Mg 2+ / ?-A1203 Mg 2+/ ?-A1203 (m2.74 0.kg-a .01 0.39 0.5 10 0._ mcat _ Flo RESULTS The specific surface areas of the studied catalysts are listed in Table 1.ET.65.30 0. This lost of activity depends on the ion type used and is particularly severe for Ca 2+and K +. With Li*-modified catalysts. Deactivation Under differential conditions pure ?-alumina and F ".0 Differential selectivities (-) S3.53 0.g ~. Li+ and Mg2+ with 5% of ion content (atomic-%) but decrease in the case of Ca2÷ and K +.03 0. a remarkable selectivi .04 0.T.006 0.3.043 S2.o) for the monomethylated products (under steadystate conditions) are used to compare the different catalysts: Rio Yi. In the case of Mg2+-modified catalysts.05 0.5% Table 1 Characteristics ofthedifferentcatalysts Catalyst Ion content I Specific B.71 0.0 kPa for water.24 0. Ca2+.7 kPa for each reactant and 76.24 0. the reaction is restricted to the primary methylation: catechol conversion is limited to values of X < 0.5 5 5 5 5 5 7. 3).34 0.60 0. A reduction of this area is also observed with higher Mg2+-content: the pore size distribution shows a small decrease of the average mesoporous diameter for modified y-alumina and a global decrease of all diameters with ion content higher than 7.113 0.o can be improved up to 0. it is interesting to notice that the differential selectivities change during the fhst hours on stream (Fig. B 3+. which is always favourable to the desired product. The initial reaction rate of catechol (-R~o) is measured under steady-state conditions after 8-10 hours of the catalyst activity stabilisation and is used to compare the catalysts activity.44 0.0 S4.ty increase for the desired 3-methylcatechol is observed.66 0. Catalysts modified with F .70 0._ -RIo X/z' Yi.02 0. area (atomic -%) ~ y-A1203 i . and the differential selectivities (sl o) on pure ?-alumina and on various modified catalysts at 270°C (Table 1). surface area of 165 m2. K + and Li+-modified catalysts deactivate without influencing the differential selectivities. But the most significant change is obtained with Mg2+-modified catalysts: the differential selectivity s3.001 0.75 0.25 0.o X i=2.o = .62 0. Pure y-alumina exhibits a B. expressed by the initial reaction rate (-R~o).144 0.135 0.h-1) 0. The surface areas remain almost unchanged after incorporation of B 3+.E. activity of ?-alumina and modified ?-alumina catalysts remains constant.092 0. The differential selectivities (si.25 0.04 0. .Catalyst developmentfor the selective methylation of catechol 2935 To test the different catalysts.4 where -c. is more or less important depending on Mg2+ content.05 0.01 0.05 allowing the reaction to be carried out in the differential kinetic region (Fig. ~2+ and K + exhibit the same product selectivities as pure ?-A1203 whereas their activity is decreased.055 0.0 7. 4): the selectivity for 3-methylcatechol increases while the relative formation of guaiacol is reduced. B 3+.03 Differential reactor: catalyst screening After a stabilisation period of 8-10 hours.132 0. The effect of this pre-treatment.26 O.70 0.g -1) 165 144 171 146 150 171 167 156 140 Initial rate -Rio (mol. The standard reactants feed is a solution with a molar ratio catechol : methanol : water = 1: 1:6 that corresponds to initial partial pressures of 12.
0 Fig. on the Mg -content (Fig. 0. 0. P6.38 h..5 Differential selectivities of the monomethylated products as function of Mg2+added to y-AI203. Deactivation of Mg 2+/~. Ps.o= 76.65 and 3-methylcatechol becomes the main product under differential conditions.7 kPa. --- S~o 0. PORCH~et al. Pl.~ 0. Pl.0 kPa.0.-alumina: the oxygen-alkylation is reduced in favour of carbon-alkylation. The2.0.o .2- 0.6 i ~ 0.0.15- S3.o = 12. It is worthwhile to note that only the relative formations of guaiacol and 3-methylcatechol are affected by the percentage of Mg 2÷ added to ~.4 S~o .5% of Mg .6 0.A1203 (5 %) catalyst.kg'mol-t Catalysts modified with Mg 2+ Mg -modified "/-alumina is of particular interest due to the fact that 3-methylcatechol selectivity increases with respect to 2+pure7-alumina without big" lost of catalytic activity (table 1).. selectivity S3.o is strongly.7 kPa.20 S. but the ring methylafion stays largely ortho-selective. it passes through a maximum of S3.4. The behaviour of these Mg2+-modified catalysts is very sensitive to the purity of the reactants.38 h.2936 0.0 75 1~0 .o= 76.8 0. z' = 0. x' = 0.kg.8 -1~o 2: -" 0. temperature = 270°C.7J 2+ S3.~ o ~ ~o Time on s t r e ~ t  ~5 Fig. dependent .o = 12.o = 12.30. In the concentration range of 5-7.1.4 t ~0 25 .o ~ i • 0.7 kPa.0 20 0.o= 0.o = 12.10.0 kPa.mol -i . 5).05. P6.2 v v v v v v m • I_ v . temperature = 270"C.7 kPa. Ps. 0.
I 1 .A).00 0.o = 12. Therefore the overall yield Y2 shows the typical reaction path of an intermediate product. P6.] 0.5. The formation rate of 4-methylcatechol is slow compared to the production rates of the other species which is favourable because it is an undesired stable product.o= 12. 6.7 kPa.15.30 C ~ r s i ~ x[.mol .b).3 . 1994). The reaction has therefore to be stopped at an optimal conversion. The yield of 3-methylcatechol increases with catechol conversion whereas the guaiacol yield passes a maximum value as shown for pure . 0. Ps. However the monomethylated products react with alkylation agents to form stable higher methylated species.00 0.10. Y~ 0.Catalyst development for the selective methylation of catechoi 2937 Integral reactor As presented in Fig. As the differential selectivity of 3-methylcatechol is considerably improved using Mg2+-modified catalysts. the three monomethylated isomers are formed by direct alkylation of catechol with methanol.7 kPa. 1.75 for a catechol conversion of X = 0.a) & b) Integral yields of the three monomethylated products as function of catechol conversion. the obtainable integral selectivity can be increased to values up to 0.15.25 _ ~" o.15 0. temperature: 262"C (a).10 0.x' = 0.05 0. I ~~°~ 1 Y~ 0. "7 ~" 0. This corresponds to a 150% higher yield compared to pure ~/-alumina at the same conversion as shown in Fig.f-alumina in Fig.o= 76. 270"C (b).10.05.20 0. 0.l .25 0.05. 6.kg.0 "l'l&a.25 0. 0. On the other hand guaiacol is itself a methylation agent: it decomposes in a reverse reaction to catechol and methanol or can be transformed by rearrangement to the desired 3-methylcatechol (Porchet et al. / ~ [ Y2 0. o o o ~x[-I Fig.20.7 h. 6. Pl.28.
Berteau. Role of the Acid-Base Properties of Aluminas.. Tanabe.. 1989. 119. A19. S. P.. 31. Porchet.. Jurczyk. Buysch... T. Lercher. Cutuf. B. Paulus. 1.kg -‘. Cutul. Guaiacol and catechol must then be separated and may be recycled.. Noller. D.949.28. W. 65. Ceckiewicz. It has been shown that the differential selectivity for 3-methylcatechol can be increased by modifying the catalyst with Mg’+. .O 7' X Y y*. 108. 1994.. 1977.h-’ h h. Renken.h -’ kg kPa mol.203. 56. Chem. 1987. London.. and Silica-Alumina in Butanol Dehydration. vol. The Selectivity of Oxide Catalysts for the Alkylation of Phenols with Methanol. Eng. Heterogeneous Catalytic Methylation of Catechol.. Swamy.. Doepper. Modified y-Alumina. Nishizaki. 1993. si..-J. Methylienmg von Brenzcatechin in der Gasphase... ACKNOWLEDGEMENT The authors gratefully acknowledge financial support by the Swiss National Science Foundation NOMENCLATURE FO F IO %*t P190 RIO -RIO S. Sot. This leads to a selectivity sj = 0. Weinheim. S.h-’ mol... Garbe. Furuduy Trans.h -I mo1. Cutul. Velu. 121. Doepper.mol -I indices i: 2 guaiacol 3 3-methylcatechol 4 4-methylcatechol 5 methanol 6 water REFERENCES Berteau.. Colombier. S. Chem... in Proceedings of the Sixth Congress on Cutufysis. A&. Appl. Su. Porchet. A. 1991. Delmon.Tech.. 1989.o total molar flow molar flow of catechol catalyst mass initial partial pressure of i initial formation rate of i initial reaction rate of catechol selectivity of i differential selectivity of i time on stream residence time of catechol catechol conversion integral yield of i differential yield of i mo1. C.. Vol.52 at a conversion of X = 0. 361. C. J. B. H.80. CONCLUSION On pure y-alumina the selectivity for the desired product 3-methylcatechol can be optimised taking into account the initial formation rates of the monomethylated compounds and the consecutive rearrangement of guaiacol.. W. K.S. Technof. Acid-Base Properties of Alumina-Magnesia Mixed Oxides. S.. Cutal. A. H. This leads to a selectivity sg = 0. Su. S. S... Delmon. 17. Fiege. Renken. J. Phenol Derivatives. K. 3 13.kg-‘.. “Modified Aluminas: Relationship Between Activity in 1-Butanol Dehydration and Acidity Measured by NH3 TPD”. Alkylation of Phenol with Methanol over Magnesium-Aluminium Calcined Hydrotalcites.bRCHET et al. 5.2938 s.. Base Properties of Modified y-Alumina. 203. in Ullrnunn ‘s Encyclopedia of Industrial Chemistry. Kania. P. A.. R. Hamamoto.. 1994. R.-Zng. 863. T. 1984. 241. H.. Today. Appl.75 at the same conversion and it decreases the amount of guaiacol that has to be recycled. Iwata. T. 2.kg.. VCH Verlagsgesellschaft. Chem.