ISSN 1070-4272, Russian Journal of Applied Chemistry, 2016, Vol. 89, No. 2, pp. 249−253. © Pleiades Publishing, Ltd., 2016.
Original Russian Text © A.B. Zhukov, A.A. Il’in, R.N. Rumyantsev, A.P. Il’in,
2016, published in Zhurnal Prikladnoi Khimii, 2016, Vol. 89, No. 2, pp. 241−246.
Activity and Selectivity of Iron–Molybdenum Catalysts
in Synthesis of Formaldehyde in an Industrial Installation
A. B. Zhukov, A. A. Il’in, R. N. Rumyantsev, and A. P. Il’in
Research Institute of Thermodynamics and Kinetics of Chemical Processes, Ivanovo State University of Chemical Technology,
Sheremetevskii pr. 7, Ivanovo, 153000 Russia
Received February 18, 2015
Abstract—The results of operation of F-1 and F-2 iron–molybdenum formaldehyde synthesis catalysts in an
industrial installation consisting of two series-connected tubular reactor are analyzed. The physicochemical
properties of the catalysts were studied, and the relationship between the characteristics of acid–base sites, on
the one hand, and the activity and selectivity, on the other hand, was determined. The formation of hydrogen on
the industrial catalysts is improbable.
Formaldehyde is widely used in production of form-
aldehyde resins, plastics, synthetic ﬁ bers, explosives,
drugs, etc. The demand for formaldehyde steadily in-
creases. Formaldehyde is produced by catalytic oxida-
tion of methanol using metal or oxide catalysts. The
metal catalysts presently used in industry consist of
silver applied onto an inert support (pumice, aluminum
oxide), and the oxide catalysts are iron molybdates con-
taining excess molybdenum oxide [1, 2].
Synthesis of formaldehyde from methanol on oxide
catalysts is a well-mastered large-tonnage industrial
process. High exothermic effect of methanol oxidation
and requirements to the process safety make it necessary
to perform it in tubular reactors at relatively low
methanol concentrations, below the lower explosion
limit for methanol–air mixtures. Despite the fact that this
process has been comprehensively studied, it remains
necessary to ﬁ nd efﬁ cient ways to enhance the capacity
of installations and the process output and to improve
the technology and the quality of the catalysts used.
Installations with a total productive capacity of
200–300 t day
, based on two series-connected tubular
reactors with oxide catalyst and intermediate methanol
feeding between the reactors, are used in industry for
Formalin production. Under the conditions of instability
of the world’s economy and of seasonal and local
variations of the demand for Formalin, inevitably giving
rise to technological problems, it becomes necessary
to decrease or increase the installation capacity, which
also makes the requirements to the catalyst quality more
Iron–molybdenum catalysts are produced on large
scale by Haldor Topsoe (Denmark), Süd-Chemie
(Germany), Perstorp (Sweden), and other companies.
Because of the instability of world’s markets and
problems with replacement of imported products by
domestic products, it becomes appropriate to set up in
Russia modern plants for production of Fe–Mo catalysts.
Numerous papers deal with the synthesis and properties
of catalysts for oxidation of methanol into formaldehyde
[3–9]. However, papers on technological features of
methanol oxidation, on the properties of industrial iron–
molybdenum catalysts, and on industrial trials of these
catalysts are almost lacking [10, 11].
This work was aimed at studying the composition
and physicochemical characteristics of industrial iron–
molybdenum catalysts and at determination and analysis
of technological features of methanol oxidation on
the best imported catalysts in an industrial installation
consisting of two series-connected tubular reactors.