PEP Review IX-1-3
Improvement on the Manufacture of Ethylene Oxide By Using a New Silver Catalyst
Published: September 1973
A new silver catalyst was found by Professor Derek Bryce-Smith, Dr. Ernest Blue, and their associates at UK's University of Reading (Chemical and Engineering News, Nov. 20, 1972; Chem. Ing. Technik, May 1973, p. A535). It is made by the following procedure: silver acetate in Pyridine or triethylamine reacts with acetic anhydride at room temperature to form silver ketenide AgsC=CO quantitatively. Heating the silver ketenide converts it to silver. Both silver ketenide and the silver that remains after its decomposition promote direct oxidation of ethylene. In some cases, the silver alone is a more active catalyst than the ketenide, and can withstand heating to several hundred degrees.