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Surface-Modified Carbon Nanotubes Catalyze Oxidative Dehydrogenation of n-Butane

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Science  03 Oct 2008:
Vol. 322, Issue 5898, pp. 73-77
DOI: 10.1126/science.1161916

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Abstract

Butenes and butadiene, which are useful intermediates for the synthesis of polymers and other compounds, are synthesized traditionally by oxidative dehydrogenation (ODH) of n-butane over complex metal oxides. Such catalysts require high O2/butane ratios to maintain the activity, which leads to unwanted product oxidation. We show that carbon nanotubes with modified surface functionality efficiently catalyze the oxidative dehydrogenation of n-butane to butenes, especially butadiene. For low O2/butane ratios, a high selectivity to alkenes was achieved for periods as long as 100 hours. This process is mildly catalyzed by ketonic CEmbedded ImageO groups and occurs via a combination of parallel and sequential oxidation steps. A small amount of phosphorus greatly improved the selectivity by suppressing the combustion of hydrocarbons.

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