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Keywords:

  • acetic acid;
  • aqueous phase hydrogenation;
  • density functional calculations;
  • ethanol;
  • heterogeneous catalysis
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Vision in scission: Catalytic hydrogenation of acetic acid to ethanol has been carried out in aqueous phase on several metals, with ruthenium being the most active and selective. DFT calculations suggest that the initial C[BOND]O bond scission yielding acetyl is the key step and that the intrinsic reactivity of the metals accounts for the observed activity.