Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2015, Vol. 31 ›› Issue (2): 337-343.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB201412101

• CATALYSIS AND SURFACE SCIENCE • Previous Articles     Next Articles

Catalytic Synthesis of Trimethylolpropane in the Presence of Basic Ionic Liquid

LONG Jin-Xing1, YUAN Zheng-Qiu1, MA Hao2, SHU Ri-Yang1, LI Xue-Hui2   

  1. 1. Key Laboratory of Renewable Energy, Guangzhou Institute of Energy Conversion, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Guangzhou 510640, P. R. China;
    2. School of Chemistry and Chemical Engineering, South China University of Technology, Guangzhou 510640, P. R. China
  • Received:2014-09-30 Revised:2014-12-10 Published:2015-01-26
  • Contact: LONG Jin-Xing, LI Xue-Hui;
  • Supported by:

    The project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (51306191, 21336002) and Doctoral Fund of Ministry of Education of China (20130172110043).


Ionic liquid (IL) catalyst attracts increasing attention during last few decades due to its excellent advantages of both homogeneous and heterogeneous catalyst. Here, a novel and efficient strategy for the production of trimethylolpropane (TMP) is proposed with basic IL catalysts. The catalytic activities of the IL catalysts are investigated. The effects of catalyst dosage, reaction temperature, time, and the molar ratio of the reactants are also studied. The results show that the basicity of the IL catalyst has a significant effect on the catalytic activity, where stronger basicity indicates higher catalytic activity. The IL 1-butyl-3-methyl imidazolium hydroxyl ([bmim]OH) is proven to be the most efficient catalyst where more than 84% isolated yield of TMP was obtained under optimized conditions. Furthermore, both the IL catalyst and butyraldehyde show excellent recyclability. Moreover, this IL catalytic system avoids the inevitable desalination encountered by current processes utilizing inorganic alkali catalysts.

Key words: Trimethylolpropane, Ionic liquid, Basic strength, Cannizzaro condensation, Recyclability