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The selective oxidation of n-butane to maleic anhydride.

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Industrial catalysts used in commercial processes for the production of maleic anhydride are mainly Vanadium Phosphorous Oxide (VPO) catalysts. The VPO catalyst used is Vanadyl Pyrophosphate (VO)2P207 made from its precursor Vanadium Phosphorous Hemi-Hydrate VOHP04.O.5H20 in an non-aqueous medium. In order for the VPO catalyst to perform optimally, a metal promoter, Ru, was selected as the doping agent in this study. Four catalysts of different metal doping concentrations (undoped, 0.2%, 0.6% and 1%) were subjected to the oxidation of n-butane. Promoters are added to facilitate the oxidation of n-butane to maleic anhydride. n-Butane gas is now being used in many industrial processes, in fixed bed reactors to convert the gas to maleic anhydride. Catalysts were calcined under high temperatures under a nitrogen atmosphere. It was found that with an increase in reaction temperature, there was an increase in conversion of n-butane to maleic anhydride. Selectivity of the product also showed an increase with an increase in temperature at a Gas Hourly Space Velocity (GHSV) of 1960-2170hr-1. Catalysts were characterized using different techniques such as Electron Dispersive X-Ray Spectroscopy, Inductively Coupled Plasma-Atomic Emission Spectroscopy, Fourier Transform - Infra Red, Average Oxidation State, Brunauer Emmett and Teller (surface area), X-Ray Diffraction and Scanning Electron Microscopy. The 0.6% Ru promoted VPO catalyst showed to be most effective in terms of conversion, selectivity and yield, at a temperature of 450°C as compared to the other catalysts studied. The catalysts degenerated after being subjected to higher temperatures. The selectivity obtained by this catalyst was at 70.2% and the yield obtained was 37%. This study showed that with an increase in Ru up to a certain concentration (0.6%), an increase in selectivity and yield was observed, thereafter, with additional Ru doping, a decrease in selectivity and yield was obtained.


Thesis (M.Sc.)-University of Natal, 2003.


Theses--Chemistry., Butane--Oxidation., Oxidation., Vanadium catalysts., Maleic anhydride.