How can we convert ethane to ethanoic acid?
Ethane can be converted to ethanoic acid or acetic acid by catalytic oxidation. There are a number of ways, depending upon the catalyst, to achieve this conversion. The commonly used catalysts for this conversion include, protonated pentasil-type zeolite (or, H-ZSM-5), Fe/ZSM-5, `MoV_(0.25)Nb_(0.12)Pd_(0.0005)O_x` , etc.
These catalysts require a high temperature and high pressure for achieving the acetic acid formation. For example, H-ZSM-5 works at a temperature of 393 K and a pressure of 3 MPa. Another key to successfully converting ethane to acetic acid, is the application of an oxidizer. Hydrogen peroxide is a commonly used oxidizer. Each catalyst selectively converts a fraction of ethane to ethanoic acid or acetic acid. For example, Fe/ZSM-5 has a conversion rate of about 56%, with a selectivity of 70% towards acetic acid.
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