echemi logo
  • Product
  • Supplier
  • Inquiry
    Home > Biochemistry News > Biotechnology News > Progress in copper-catalyzed synthesis gas to ethylene glycol promoted by fullerenes

    Progress in copper-catalyzed synthesis gas to ethylene glycol promoted by fullerenes

    • Last Update: 2022-05-18
    • Source: Internet
    • Author: User
    Search more information of high quality chemicals, good prices and reliable suppliers, visit

    Schematic diagram of the electron-buffered copper-silica-catalyzed hydrogenation of dimethyl oxalate to ethylene glycol

      Under the support of the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No.
    21721001, 92061204, 21972113, 21972120, etc.
    ), the team of Professor Xie Suyuan and Professor Yuan Youzhu of Xiamen University, together with the researcher Yao Yuangen and Guo Guocong of the Fujian Institute of the Structure of Matter, Chinese Academy of Sciences, and Xiamen Funa The collaborator of New Materials Technology Co.
    , Ltd.
    has made progress in the study of fullerene electron buffer effect in the catalytic synthesis of ethylene glycol by atmospheric pressure hydrogenation of dimethyl oxalate

    The related achievement is titled "Ambient-pressure synthesis of ethylene glycol catalyzed by C60-buffered Cu/SiO2", published in Science on April 15, 2022 ) published on

    Paper link: https://

    In the same period, Science published a highlight review article on "Fullerenes make copper catalysis better" to introduce this work.
    Review link: https:// .


      Ethylene glycol is a kind of important chemical raw material.
    It can be polymerized with terephthalic acid to produce polyester (PET) fibers and plastics that are widely used in daily life.
    The global annual output reaches 40 million tons

    Existing products are mainly synthesized from petroleum through ethylene oxide route, but because China's petroleum is highly dependent on imports, it is of strategic significance to develop non-petroleum route synthesis gas to ethylene glycol technology in China

    This technology mainly involves a two-step catalytic reaction from syngas to dimethyl oxalate to ethylene glycol, in which dimethyl oxalate is prepared from the coupling of carbon monoxide and methyl nitrite (the reaction product of methanol and nitric oxide).
    The reaction can be achieved under normal pressure with a palladium catalyst

    However, for the hydrogenation of dimethyl oxalate into ethylene glycol, the copper-silica (Cu/SiO2) catalytic reaction currently used still needs to be successfully completed under the condition of high hydrogen pressure (20~30 atmospheres).
    It is easy to cause safety hazards such as hydrogen leakage and explosion, and product quality problems such as more by-products

    Previously, the research team has carried out long-term research on element doping and regulating the surface electronic properties and catalytic behavior of Cu/SiO2.
    It has been verified that the key to affecting the catalytic effect of Cu/SiO2 lies in the different valences of copper (especially monovalent cuprous) in the catalyst.
    ) components should have a relatively stable ratio, while it is difficult for the monovalent cuprous component to remain relatively constant during the catalytic reaction


      In response to the above problems, the research team developed a fullerene-copper-silica catalyst (C60-Cu/SiO2), which utilizes the reversible electron transfer between copper and fullerenes to form the electron buffering effect of fullerenes (electron buffering effect), stabilized the cuprous component in the catalyst (the small red area on the surface and interface in the figure), and achieved a significant improvement in the catalytic performance of the hydrogenation of dimethyl oxalate to ethylene glycol from high pressure to normal pressure.
    It solves the problems of many side reactions and easy deactivation of the catalyst (Figure)


      The core of the technology lies in the complexation of fullerenes with copper catalysts
    The research team characterized the electron transfer phenomenon between fullerenes and copper by cyclic voltammetry, and summarized it as the "electron buffering effect", which was further confirmed by synchrotron radiation absorption spectroscopy, solid-state nuclear magnetism and theoretical calculations.
    Electron transfer phenomenon between fullerenes and copper

    Combining fullerenes as electron buffers with transition metal catalysis provides a new idea for carbon cluster catalysis research


    This article is an English version of an article which is originally in the Chinese language on and is provided for information purposes only. This website makes no representation or warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied, as to the accuracy, completeness ownership or reliability of the article or any translations thereof. If you have any concerns or complaints relating to the article, please send an email, providing a detailed description of the concern or complaint, to A staff member will contact you within 5 working days. Once verified, infringing content will be removed immediately.

    Contact Us

    The source of this page with content of products and services is from Internet, which doesn't represent ECHEMI's opinion. If you have any queries, please write to It will be replied within 5 days.

    Moreover, if you find any instances of plagiarism from the page, please send email to with relevant evidence.