The conversion of ethoxylated fatty alcohols to the corresponding carboxylic acids through dehydrogenation/oxidation using noble-metal catalysts has been studied. Ethoxylated primary aliphatic alcohols, ethoxylated random secondary aliphatic alcohols and ethoxylated alkylphenols have been converted to the corresponding acids in the presence of a base. The noble metal catalysts Palladium and Platinum were used without significant degradation of the ethoxyl chain in yields that exceeded 90%. On the other hand, the catalysts Rhodium and Ruthenium gave yields of about 80% and 60% respectively.
Zlatanos, S., Laskaridis, K., & Sagredos, A. (2009). Oxidation of ethoxylated fatty alcohols to alkylpolyglycol carboxylic acids using noble metals as catalysts. Grasas y Aceites, 60(4), 360–366. https://doi.org/10.3989/gya.010309