Differentiation of O-H and C-H bond scission mechanisms of ethylene glycol on Pt and Ni/Pt using theory and isotopic labeling experiments. Academic Article uri icon


  • Understanding and controlling bond-breaking sequences of oxygenates on transition metal catalysts can greatly impact the utilization of biomass feedstocks for fuels and chemicals. The decomposition of ethylene glycol, as the simplest representative of biomass-derived polyols, was studied via density functional theory (DFT) calculations to identify the differences in reaction pathways between Pt and the more active Ni/Pt bimetallic catalyst. Comparison of the computed transition states indicated three potentially feasible paths from ethylene glycol to C1 oxygenated adsorbates on Pt. While not important on Pt, the pathway to 1,2-dioxyethylene (OCH(2)CH(2)O) is favored energetically on the Ni/Pt catalyst. Temperature-programmed desorption (TPD) experiments were conducted with deuterated ethylene glycols for comparison with DFT results. These experiments confirmed that decomposition of ethylene glycol on Pt proceeds via initial O-H bond cleavage, followed by C-H and the second O-H bond cleavages, whereas on the Ni/Pt surface, both O-H bonds are cleaved initially. The results are consistent with vibrational spectra and indicate that tuning of the catalyst surface can selectively control bond breaking. Finally, the significant mechanistic differences in decomposition of polyols compared to that of monoalcohols and hydrocarbons serve to identify general trends in bond scission sequences.

published proceedings

  • J Am Chem Soc

altmetric score

  • 3

author list (cited authors)

  • Salciccioli, M., Yu, W., Barteau, M. A., Chen, J. G., & Vlachos, D. G.

citation count

  • 100

complete list of authors

  • Salciccioli, Michael||Yu, Weiting||Barteau, Mark A||Chen, Jingguang G||Vlachos, Dionisios G

publication date

  • May 2011