Export file:


  • RIS(for EndNote,Reference Manager,ProCite)
  • BibTex
  • Text


  • Citation Only
  • Citation and Abstract

Synthesis of propylene carbonate from urea and propylene glycol over zinc oxide: A homogeneous reaction

College of Chemistry, Chemical Engineering and Materials Science, Zaozhuang University, Zaozhuang, 277160, P.R. China

Special Issues: Materials for Energy Technologies

In this work, several metal oxides and zinc salts were used to catalyze propylene carbonate (PC) synthesis from urea and propylene glycol (PG). According to the results of catalytic test and characterization, the catalytic pattern of ZnO was different from that of other metal oxides such as CaO, MgO and La2O3, but similar to that of zinc salts. In fact, the leaching of Zn species took place during reaction for ZnO. And ZnO was found to be the precursor of homogenous catalyst for reaction of urea and PG. Thus, the relationship between the amount of dissolved zinc species and the catalytic performance of employed ZnO was revealed. In addition, a possible reaction mechanism over ZnO was discussed based on the catalytic runs and the characterization of XRD, FTIR, and element analysis.
  Article Metrics

Keywords 1,2-Propanediol; Propylene carbonate; Zinc oxide

Citation: Dengfeng Wang, Xuelan Zhang, Tingting Cheng, Jing Wu, Qijun Xue. Synthesis of propylene carbonate from urea and propylene glycol over zinc oxide: A homogeneous reaction. AIMS Energy, 2014, 2(4): 399-409. doi: 10.3934/energy.2014.4.399


  • 1. Clements JH (2003) Reactive Applications of Cyclic Alkylene Carbonates. Ind Eng Chem Res 42: 663-674.    
  • 2. Shaikh AG, Sivaram S (1996) Organic Carbonates. Chem Rev 96: 951-976.    
  • 3. komura H, Yoshino T (1973) Synthetic Studies by the Use of Carbonates, II. An Easy Method of Preparing Cyclic Carbonates of Polyhydroxy Compounds by Transesterification with Ethylene Carbonate. Bull Chem Soc Jp 46: 550-553.
  • 4. Iwakuni YK, Kuga YM, Ohtake MI (1989) Preparation of cyclic carbonates. U S Patent 4, 880, 942.
  • 5. Fumagalli C, Capare G, Roffia P (1977) Process for the preparation of alkylene carbonates. U.S. Patent 4, 009, 183.
  • 6. Aresta M, Dibenedetto A, Tommasi I (2000) Direct synthesis of organic carbonates by oxidative carboxylation of olefins catalyzed by metal oxides: developing green chemistry based on carbon dioxide. Appl Organometal Chem 14: 799-802.
  • 7. Zhang XL, Wang DF, Zhao N, et al. (2009) Grafted ionic liquid: Catalyst for solventless cycloaddition of carbon dioxide and propylene oxide. Catal Commun 11: 43-46.    
  • 8. Kim I, Yi MJ, Lee KJ, et al. (2006) Aliphatic polycarbonate synthesis by copolymerization of carbon dioxide with epoxides over double metal cyanide catalysts prepared by using ZnX2 (X = F, Cl, Br, I). Catal Today 111: 292-296.    
  • 9. Zhao XQ, Zhang Y, Wang Y J (2004) Synthesis of Propylene Carbonate from Urea and 1,2-Propylene Glycol over a Zinc Acetate Catalyst. Ind Eng Chem Res 43: 4038-4042.    
  • 10. Li QB, Zhao N, Wei W, et al. (2009) Catalytic performance of metal oxides for the synthesis of propylene carbonate from urea and 1,2-propanediol. J Mol Catal A: Chem 270: 44-49.
  • 11. Gao ZW, Wang SF, Xia CG (2009) Synthesis of propylene carbonate from urea and 1,2-propanediol. Chin Chem Lett 20: 131-135.    
  • 12. Su WY, Speranza PG (1991) Process for preparing alkylene carbonates. U.S. Patent 5, 003, 084.
  • 13. Doya M, Ohkawa T, Kanbara Y, et al. (1994) Process for producing alkylene carbonates. U.S. Patent 5, 349, 077.
  • 14. Keuleers R, Desseyn HO, Rousseau B, et al. (1999) Vibrational Analysis of Urea. J Phys Chem A 103: 4621-4630.    
  • 15. Solymosi F, Bansagi T (1979) Infrared spectroscopic study of the adsorption of isocyanic acid. J Phys Chem 83: 552-553.    
  • 16. Ikezawa Y, Ariga T (2007) In situ FTIR spectra at the Cu electrode/propylene carbonate solution interface. Electrochim Acta 52: 2710-2715.    
  • 17. Calvino-Casilda V, Mul G, Fernández JF, et al. (2011) Monitoring the catalytic synthesis of glycerol carbonate by real-time attenuated total reflection FTIR spectroscopy. Appl Catal A: Gen 409-410: 106-112.
  • 18. Zhao WB, Peng WC, Wang DF, et al. (2009) Zinc oxide as the precursor of homogenous catalyst for synthesis of dialkyl carbonate from urea and alcohols. Catal Commun 10: 655-658.    
  • 19. Fujita S, Yamanishi Y, Arai M (2013) Syntheis of glycerol carbonate from glycerol and urea using zinc-containing solid catalysts: A homogeneous reaction. J Catal 297: 137-141.    
  • 20. Wang MH, Wang H, Zhao N, et al. (2006) Synthesis of dimethyl carbonate from urea and methanol over solid base catalysts. Catal Commun 7: 6-10.    
  • 21. Peng WC, Zhao WB, Zhao N, et al. (2008) Direct synthesis of salicylamide from phenol and urea over ZnO catalyst. Catal Commun 9: 1219-1223.    


This article has been cited by

  • 1. Huy Nguyen-Phu, Chan-yi Park, Eun Woo Shin, Dual catalysis over ZnAl mixed oxides in the glycerolysis of urea: homogeneous and heterogeneous reaction routes, Applied Catalysis A: General, 2017, 10.1016/j.apcata.2017.12.018
  • 2. Li Hao, Jianpei Wang, Weihua Shen, Zhiqing Zhu, Yunjin Fang, Carbonylation of 1,2-propylene glycol with urea to propylene carbonate under the catalysis of Zn-Al oxide from the view of homogeneous catalysis, Molecular Catalysis, 2018, 452, 54, 10.1016/j.mcat.2018.03.020

Reader Comments

your name: *   your email: *  

Copyright Info: 2014, Xuelan Zhang, Dengfeng Wang, et al., licensee AIMS Press. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Licese (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0)

Download full text in PDF

Export Citation

Copyright © AIMS Press All Rights Reserved