Ethanol As A Key Chemical

Some further conversions of ethanol are shown in Figure 2.2. We have already mentioned preparation of today's number one organic chemical, ethene. The decrease of mass in the conversion of carbohydrates via ethanol to ethene is large (65%), and the annual production of ethene exceeds 100 x 106 t, so the total world sugar production (145 x 106 t) would not be nearly enough to cover that amount. In India, where cheap sugar streams are available, over 400,000 t of ethanol were used in 1997 [20] to make "alco-chemicals" with acetic acid as the main product. In China and India, aqueous ethanol is directly applied in aromatic ethylation (ethylbenzene, 1,4-diethylbenzene, and 4-ethyltoluene).

ETBE

FIGURE 2.2 Ethanol as key chemical.

ETBE

FIGURE 2.2 Ethanol as key chemical.

The reaction of ethanol with isobutene affords ethyl t-butyl ether (ETBE), a partly green compound, which can develop as a successor of methyl t-butyl ether (MTBE) as a gasoline booster. Biodiesel becomes fully renewable based on when ethanol is applied instead of methanol in the transesterification of triglycerides.

The oxidative dehydrocyclization of ethanol and ammonia toward pyridine and 4-methylpyridine was studied at Delft University of Technology [21]. The mediumpore zeolites H-ZSM-5 and H-TON were shown to be the catalysts of choice.

Finally, aqueous ethanol can be considered as a future hydrogen carrier. Up to 6 mol of hydrogen can be obtained from 1 mol of ethanol.

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