Journal article Open Access

Reversible deactivation of γ-alumina by steam in the gas-phase dehydration of methanol to dimethyl ether

Boon, Jurriaan; van Kampen, Jasper; Hoogendoorn, Roelof; Tanase, Stefania; van Berkel, Frans P.F.; van Sint Annaland, Martin

Acidic γ-Al2O3 is an active catalyst for the dehydration of methanol to dimethyl ether (DME). However, the produced steam reduces the activity. In this work, the influence of the exposure of γ-Al2O3 to steam on the catalytic activity for methanol dehydration has been determined. At 250 °C and increasing stream partial pressure the conversion of γ-Al2O3 into γ-AlO(OH) is observed at a p(H2O) of 13–14 bar. As a consequence, the catalytic activity decreases, reducing the rate of methanol dehydration to around 25%. However, this conversion is reversible and under reaction conditions γ-AlO(OH) converts back to γ-Al2O3, recovering its catalytic activity.

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