The adsorption and reaction of ethanol over Au/TiO2 catalysts was investigated using pulse flow reactor, DRIFTS, and TPD. The adsorption of ethanol over TiO2 (P25) indicated a full monolayer adsorption of ethanol, with much of it in a dissociative state, forming ethoxy group on the cationic sites and hydroxyl group at anions. The ethoxy is relatively stable until 300oC, at which point dehydration to ethene occurs by a bimolecular surface reaction. As the concentration of ethoxy on the surface disappears, so the mechanism reverts to a decomposition pathway, producing methane, CO and hydrogen (~320oC) in TPD. However, the presence of gold on the catalysts prepared by deposition precipitation method indicates that the reaction is complete oxidation to CO2 and water similar to Titania. The effect of the presence of low level of gold is marked with complete conversion of ethanol at low temperature (220oC) lower than Titania (240oC).Simultaneously, ethanol oxidation on Au/TiO2 catalyst was followed by dehydration to ethene at 300oC (characteristic of TiO2) and dehydrogenation to ethanal at high temperature. The pathway which gives ethene as seen on TiO2 remains, but a new feature of the reaction is the evolution of CO2 and H2 (a peak is seen in TPD above 350oC) and appears to be due to the production of formate species on the surface of the catalysts. This formate species is mainly involved in the complete oxidation reaction of ethanol on the catalysts.
Keywords: Au catalysis, ethanol oxidation, ethanol catalytic combustion, TPD, DRIFTS