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Catalytic conversion of isophorone to jet-fuel range hydrocarbons

Researchers from the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics have for the first time selectively converted isophorone (C9H14O) to jet fuel range C8-C9 aromatic hydrocarbons under the promotion of a MoOx/SiO2 catalyst. A paper describing their work is published in the RSC journal Chemical Communications.

According to Evonik, which has been producing isophorone since 1962, isophorone is a solvent with excellent properties for binders, resins, and numerous chemical products. It is used as high boiling solvent in paints, printing inks and adhesives. In these applications isophorone improves flowing properties and brightness.

Isophorone can also serve as the starting material for production of several chemicals, which otherwise are hardly producible. These isophorone-derivatives are used in many different areas. In the construction industry, for example, they are used as corrosion protection on bridges, scaffolding or sluices. They are used in wood preservatives and to seal floors.

Isophorone is commercially produced by alkali-catalyzed condensation of acetone at high pressure and high temperature. Isophorone also occurs naturally in cranberries, burly tobacco and other sources.

Among the results, the Dalian team found that 10 wt% MoOx/SiO2 catalyst with 0.1 MPa hydrogen pressure and 723 K (450 ˚C) delivered 98.3% conversion of isophorone, with 76.3% of the product yield in the C8-C9 aromatic hydrocarbon range.


  • Fang Chen, Ning Li, Wentao Wang, Ai-Qin Wang, Yu Cong, Xiaodong Wang and Tao Zhang (2015) “Catalytic conversion of isophorone to jet-fuel range aromatic hydrocarbons over a MoOx/SiO2 catalyst” Chem. Commun. doi: 10.1039/C5CC03087K


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