Due to the high costs and low selectivity associated with the production of propylene, new routes for its synthesis are being sought. Dehydration has been widely investigated in this field, but, thus far, no study has produced efficient results for isopropanol. Vanadium-zirconia catalysts have been shown to be effective for the dehydration of ethanol. Therefore, we investigated the activity of such catalysts in the dehydration of isopropanol. The catalysts were synthetized on a SBA-15 base, supplemented with zirconia or combined zirconia and vanadium. Tests were conducted in a continuous flow reactor at 150–300 °C. Samples were analyzed using a gas chromatograph. The most active catalyst showed 96% conversion with 100% selectivity to propylene. XRD, SEM and Raman spectroscopy analyses revealed that as the vanadium content increases, the pore size of the catalyst decreases and both isopropanol conversion and propylene selectivity are reduced. Thus, without the addition of vanadium, the Zr-SBA-15 catalyst appears to be suitable for the dehydration of isopropanol to propylene.
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