• monolithic catalyst;
  • hydrogenation;
  • dimethyl oxalate;
  • ethylene glycol;
  • internal diffusion


The design and application of a Cu/SiO2-based monolithic catalyst for hydrogenation of dimethyl oxalate (DMO) to ethylene glycol (EG) is presented. The catalyst was dip-coated on cordierite with highly dispersed Cu/SiO2 slurry prepared by ammonia evaporation method. This structure guarantees high dispersion of copper species within the mesopores of silica matrix in the form of copper phyllosilicate. The catalyst is low cost, stable, and exhibits high activity in the reaction of hydrogenation of DMO, achieving a 100% conversion of DMO and more than 95% selectivity to EG. Notably, STYEG over the monolith is significantly enhanced compared to the packed bed Cu/SiO2 catalysts in both forms of pellet and cylinder. It is primarily due to the relatively short diffusive pathway of the thin wash-coat layer and high efficiency of the active phase derived from the monolithic catalyst. Theoretical results indicated that the internal mass transfer is dominated on the catalysts of pellet and cylinders. Moreover, the monolithic catalyst possessed excellent thermal stability compared to the pellet catalyst, which is attributed to the regular channel structure, uniform distribution of flow. © 2011 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 2012