Brazil and the USA are the major bioethanol producers in the world, and the main application of this alcohol is as fuel. Since Brazilian ethanol is the cheapest in the world, there is a crescent interest in its use as a building block for biorefineries. Bioethanol can be used for the direct production of drop-in chemicals, such as ethylene, propylene, 1,3-butadiene and larger hydrocarbons, as well as for the production of oxygenated molecules, such as 1-butanol, ethyl acetate, acetaldehyde, and acetic acid. In this critical review, the development of heterogeneous catalysts for the conversion of ethanol into these commodity chemicals will be discussed.
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