Enhancement of 1,2-Dehydration of Alcohols by Alkali Cations and Protons: A Model for Dehydration of Carbohydrates

Mark R. Nimlos, Stephen J. Blanksby, G. Barney Ellison, Robert J. Evans

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62 Scopus Citations

Abstract

We have used electronic structure calculations to investigate the 1,2-dehydration of alcohols as a model for water loss during the pyrolysis of carbohydrates found in biomass. Reaction enthalpies and energy barriers have been calculated for neat alcohols, protonated alcohols and alcohols complexed to alkali metal ions (Li+ and Na+). We have estimated pre-exponential A factors in order to obtain gas phase rate constants. For neat alcohols, the barrier to 1,2-dehydration is about 67 kcal mol-1, which is consistent with the limited experimental data. Protonation and metal complexation significantly reduce this activation barrier and thus, facilitate more rapid reaction. With the addition of alkali metals, the rate of dehydration can increase by a factor of 108 while addition of a proton can lead to an increase of a factor of 1023.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)3-27
Number of pages25
JournalJournal of Analytical and Applied Pyrolysis
Volume66
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - 2003

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-510-34449

Keywords

  • 1,2-Dehydration of alcohols
  • Alkali cations and protons
  • Dehydration of carbohydrates

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