Dimethyl ether (DME) is an environmentally friendly fuel that is being widely considered as an alternative fuel to replace petroleum fuels. DME can be produced by dehydration reaction of methanol by using solid catalysts in catalytic reactions. This study shows the influence of catalyst's surface acidity on the catalytic activity in the dehydration of methanol to DME. In this work, the conversion of methanol to dimethyl ether has been investigated using a continuous flow fixed-bed reactor at temperatures between 60°C and 350°C and 1 bar. Sulfonated catalysts with-SO3H acid function were tested and compared with conventional catalysts as γ-Al2O3. SiO2, MCM-41 and fluoropolymer were used as inorganic and organic supports for sulfonic groups. The experimental results demonstrate a good catalytic activity for the functionalized MCM-41 and the fluoropolymeric material. Effects of H2O on the activity and deactivation of these catalysts were also studied.
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