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The influence of incorporating a small amount of silica on the catalytic performance of MoO3/Al2O3 catalyst was studied. Molybdenum supported on pure alumina and 5% SiO2-Al2O3 supports were synthesized. The catalysts were characterized by XRD, Raman, UV-Vis and IR spectroscopies, FE-SEM microscopy, and their activity was evaluated in the oxidative dehydrogenation of ethanol to acetaldehyde. Molybdenum supported on pure alumina gives a 74% yield to acetaldehyde (at 573 K) due to the generation of oxy-dehydrogenation active sites by molybdenum and to the decrement of the alumina dehydration sites. For the molybdenum catalyst supported on silica-containing alumina, the molybdenum species were displaced from the strongest alumina’s acid-base couples, located on nanoparticles edges, corners and defects, to weaker ones located on plane faces causing the rise of weakly bonded species with less active redox behavior.
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