A packed-bed plug-flow reactor, denoted as the lab-scale liquid-solid (LS)² reactor, has been developed for the assessment of heterogeneous catalyst deactivation in liquid-phase reactions. The possibility to measure intrinsic kinetics was first verified with the model transesterification of ethyl acetate with methanol, catalyzed by the stable commercial resin Lewatit K2629, for which a turnover frequency (TOF) of 6.2 ± 0.4 × 10−3
was obtained. The absence of temperature and concentration gradients was verified with correlations and experimental tests. The potential for assessing the deactivation of a catalyst was demonstrated by a second intrinsic kinetics evaluation where a methylaminopropyl (MAP)-functionalized mesoporous silica catalyst was used for the aldol reaction of acetone with 4-nitrobenzaldehyde in different solvents. The cooperative MAP catalyst deactivated as a function of time on stream when using hexane as solvent. Yet, the monofunctional MAP catalyst exhibited stable activity for at least 4 h on stream, which resulted in a TOF of 1.2 ± 0.1 × 10−3
. It did, however, deactivate with dry acetone or DMSO as solvent due to the formation of site-blocking species. This deactivation was mitigated by co-feeding 2 wt % of water to DMSO, resulting in stable catalyst activity.
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