Authors: Nydia Ileana Guzmán Barrera, Cécile Bories, Jérôme Peydecastaing,
Caroline Sablayrolles, Emeline Vedrenne, Carlos Vaca-Garcia, Sophie Thiebaud-Roux
Before proposing an innovative process for the coproduction of ethyl and butyl acetates, the individual syntheses of ethyl acetate and butyl acetate by two different routes were first studied. These syntheses involved the reaction of ethanol or n-butanol with acetic acid or acetic anhydride in the presence of ion exchange resins: Amberlyst 15, Amberlyst 16, Amberlyst 36 and Dowex 50WX8. Kinetic and thermodynamic studies were performed with all resins. The lowest activation energy (Ea) value was obtained with Dowex 50WX8, which was identified as the best-performing resin, able to be reused at least in four runs without regeneration. The presence of water-azeotropes during the synthesis of ethyl acetate makes its purification difficult. A new strategy was adopted here, involving the use of ethanol and acetic anhydride as the starting material. In order to minimize acetic acid as co-product of this reaction, a novel two-step process for the coproduction of ethyl and butyl acetates was developed. The first step involves the production of ethyl acetate and its purification. Butyl acetate was produced in the second step: n-butanol was added to the mixture of acetic acid and the resin remaining after the first-step distillation. This process yields ethyl acetate and butyl acetate at high purity and shows an environmental benefit over the independent syntheses by green metrics calculation and life cycle assessment.
See also: Comments to Paper