Heterogeneous catalytic synthesis of ethanol from biomass-derived syngas.
The selective catalytic conversion of biomass-derived syngas into ethanol is thermodynamically feasible at temperatures below roughly 350 degrees C at 30 bar. However, if methane is allowed as a reaction product, the conversion to ethanol (or other oxygenates) is extremely limited. Experimental results show that high selectivities to ethanol are only achieved at very low conversions, typically less than 10%. The most promising catalysts for the synthesis of ethanol are based on Rh, though some other formulations (such as modified methanol synthesis catalysts) show promise.