Zooming in on catalyst reactions

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Research Description

The synthesis of many industrial bulk and fine chemicals frequently involves electrophilic aromatic substitution reactions. The most widely practiced example of such a reaction is the zeolite-catalysed ethylation of benzene, using ethylene as an alkylating agent. However, the current production route towards ethylbenzene is completely dependent on fossil resources, making the recent commercial successes in the zeolite-catalysed benzene ethylation process using bioethanol (instead of ethylene) very encouraging. Using a combination of advanced solid-state NMR spectroscopy, operando UV-Vis diffuse reflectance spectroscopy and on-line mass spectrometry, detailed mechanistic insights could be obtained into the bioethanol-mediated benzene ethylation process. More...