The efficacy of using cerium oxide foams as a support for Au nanoparticles and subsequent use as oxidation catalysts have been investigated. These were synthesized using L-asparagine to produce a cerium coordination polymer foam, which was calcined to give the oxide foam. Au nanoparticles were supported on the CeO2 foams using a sol-immobilization method. The activity of the Au/foamCeO2 for solvent-free benzyl alcohol oxidation was superior to standard Au/CeO2 catalysts, and the activity was found to be dependent on the crystallization time of the precursor foam. A crystallization time of 4 h was found to produce the most active catalyst, which retained activity and a high selectivity to benzaldehyde (ca. 96 %) when re-used and this is related to the structure of the material. The high activity is attributed to the greater lability of surface oxygen in the support compared with commercial CeO2 materials.
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