Tuning the support acidity of flame-made Pd/SiO2-Al2O3 catalysts for chemoselective hydrogenation

Jun Huang, Yijiao Jiang, Niels Van Vegten, Michael Hunger, Alfons Baiker*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

57 Citations (Scopus)


Palladium nanoparticles on silica-alumina (Pd/SA) with tunable surface acidity were prepared by single-step flame spray pyrolysis and tested for the chemoselective hydrogenation of acetophenone under solvent-free conditions in a stirred autoclave at 50 bar. Quantitative solid-state NMR spectroscopy of the catalysts with different Si/Al ratio revealed that the concentration of Brønsted acid sites in these catalysts increases with increasing aluminum content up to 70 at%. The support acidity directly influenced the electronic properties of the Pd nanoparticles as proved by DRIFT spectroscopy with CO as probe molecule. Pd/SA with 15 at% aluminum (Pd/SA-15) exhibited excellent chemoselectivity for CO bond hydrogenation of acetophenone. At 170 °C and 50 bar H2, acetophenone was converted to ethylbenzene with a selectivity of 99.9%. Beside 0.1% 1-phenylethanol, no other by products were detected. Further enhancement of the support acidity in catalysts with higher Al content resulted in higher reaction rate (TOF) and in additional products originating from the competitive hydrogenation of the aromatic ring.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)352-360
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Catalysis
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 25 Jul 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Acetophenone
  • Chemoselective hydrogenation
  • Flame spray pyrolysis
  • Palladium
  • Silica-alumina
  • Solid-state NMR
  • Support acidity


Dive into the research topics of 'Tuning the support acidity of flame-made Pd/SiO2-Al2O3 catalysts for chemoselective hydrogenation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this