Realizing Catalytic Acetophenone Hydrodeoxygenation with Palladium-Equipped Porous Organic Polymers

Ratul Paul, Subhash Chandra Shit, Thibault Fovanna, Davide Ferri, Bolla Srinivasa Rao, G.T. Kasun Kalhara Gunasooriya, Duy Quang Dao, Quyet Van Le, Indrajit Shown, Matthew P. Sherburne, Quang Thang Trinh*, John Mondal*

*Corresponding author for this work

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Porous organic polymers (POPs) constructed through covalent bonds have raised tremendous research interest because of their suitability to develop robust catalysts and their successful production with improved efficiency. In this work, we have designed and explored the properties and catalytic activity of a template-free-constructed, hydroxy (-OH) group-enriched porous organic polymer (Ph-POP) bearing functional Pd nanoparticles (Pd-NPs) by one-pot condensation of phloroglucinol (1,3,5-trihydroxybenzene) and terephthalaldehyde followed by solid-phase reduction with H2. The encapsulated Pd-NPs rested within well-defined POP nanocages and remained undisturbed from aggregation and leaching. This polymer hybrid nanocage Pd@Ph-POP is found to enable efficient liquid-phase hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of acetophenone (AP) with high selectivity (99%) of ethylbenzene (EB) and better activity than its Pd@Al2O3 counterpart. Our investigation demonstrates a facile, scalable, catalyst-template-free methodology for developing novel porous organic polymer catalysts and next-generation efficient greener chemical processes from platform molecules to produce value-added chemicals. With the aid of comprehensive in situ ATR-IR spectroscopy experiments, it is suggested that EB can be more easily desorbed in a solution, reflecting from the much weaker but better-resolved signal at 1494 cm-1 in Pd@Ph-POP compared to that in Pd@Al2O3, which is the key determining factor in favoring an efficient catalytic mechanism. Density functional theory (DFT) calculations were performed to illustrate the detailed reaction network and explain the high catalytic activity observed for the fabricated Pd@Ph-POP catalyst in the HDO conversion of AP to EB. All of the hydrogenation routes, including direct hydrogenation by surface hydrogen, hydrogen transfer, and the keto-enol pathway, are evaluated, providing insights into the experimental observations. The presence of phenolic hydroxyl groups in the Ph-POP frame structure facilitates the hydrogen-shuttling mechanism for dehydration from the intermediate phenylethanol, which was identified as a crucial step for the formation of the final product ethylbenzene. Besides, weaker binding of the desired product ethylbenzene and lower coverage of surface hydrogen atoms on Pd@Ph-POP both contributed to inhibiting the overhydrogenation reaction and explained well the high yield of EB produced during the HDO conversion of AP on Pd@Ph-POP in this study.
Original languageEnglish
JournalACS Applied Materials and Interfaces
Issue number45
Pages (from-to)50550−50565
Publication statusPublished - 2020


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