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Synthesis of Methyl Acetate from Dimethyl Ether Using Group VIII Metal Salts of Phosphotungstic Acid

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Dimethyl ether (DME) can be produced much more efficiently in a single-stage, liquid-phase process from natural gas-based syngas as compared to the conventional process via dehydration of methanol. This process, based on dual catalysts slurried in inert oil, alleviates the chemical equilibrium limitation governing the methanol synthesis reaction and concurrently improves per-pass syngas conversion and reactor productivity. The potential, therefore, for production of methyl acetate via dimethyl ether carbonylation is of industrial importance. In the present study, conversion of dimethyl ether and carbon monoxide to methyl acetate is investigated over a variety of group VIII metal-substituted phosphotungstic acid salts. Experimental results of this catalytic reaction using rhodium, iridium, ruthenium, and palladium catalysts are evaluated and compared in terms of selectivity toward methyl acetate. The effects of active metal, support types, multiple metal loading, and feed conditions on carbonylation activity of DME are examined. Iridium metal substituted phosphotungstic acid supported on Davisil type 643 (pore size 150 A, surface area 279 m2/g, mesh size 230-425) silica gel shows the highest activity for DME carbonylation.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: April 1, 2002

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