A reduction-silylation-reduction method was developed to synthesize hydrophobic Cu catalysts derived from Cu phyllosilicates (CuPS). Triethoxy(octyl)silane (OTS) was used as the coupling agent. The OTS-grafted, reduced CuPS catalysts were applied in the hydrogenation of levulinic acid (LA) to γ-valerolactone (GVL). The most promising catalyst was synthesized by reducing CuPS at a high temperature (350 °C for 3 h), followed by OTS grafting, and then by repeating the previous reduction step. High LA conversion (95.7%), GVL yield (85.2%), and stability (3 cycles with a 7.5% loss of initial activity) were obtained at a mild reaction condition (130 °C with a H2 pressure of 12 bar). A high reduction temperature not only leads to a low oxidation state of Cu species but also suppresses the formation of silylation-induced acids. Moreover, the intrinsic activity of a reduced CuPS catalyst was nearly intact after subjecting to silylation and the second reduction treatment.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Materials Science(all)