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1. WO1993016972 - PROCEDE PERFECTIONNE ET CATALYSEUR LAVE PERMETTANT D'HYDROGENER PARTIELLEMENT DES COMPOSES AROMATIQUES ET PRODUIRE DES CYCLO-OLEFINES

Note: Texte fondé sur des processus automatiques de reconnaissance optique de caractères. Seule la version PDF a une valeur juridique

[ EN ]

IMPROVED PROCESS AND WASHED CATALYST FOR PARTIALLY
HYDROGENATING AROMATICS TO PRODUCE CYCLOOLEFINS

Description

Technical Field
This is a catalyst and a process for partially hydrogenating polycyclic and monocyclic aromatic
hydrocarbons such as benzene, naphthalenes, biphenyls, and alkylbenzenes to produce the corresponding
cycloolefins. The catalyst is a hydrogenation catalyst comprising ruthenium and a promoter metal, such as cobalt, on a composite support. It is a process in which the product cycloolefin is produced in high yield and with high selectivity.

Background
Cycloolefins are materials useful in the production of other high value products. For instance, in the commercial production of the polyamide known as NYLON 66, cyclohexene is first converted to cyclohexanol. The cyclohexanol is then oxidized to adipic acid with nitric acid, converted to a salt, and finally converted to the polymer. Other members of the cycloolefin family have similar utility.
The previously used hydrogenation processes have fallen into two classes: one class consists of multistep processes starting with benzene or substituted benzenes and produces cyclohexanes or halocyclohexanes as intermediates. For instance, one such process involved the steps of hydrogenating benzene to form cyclohexane, oxidizing the cyclohexane to produce cyclohexanol, and dehydrating the cyclohexanol to produce cyclohexene. The other major multistep process involves the steps of halogenating benzene to produce a halobenzene,
hydrogenating the resulting product to halocyclohexane, and dehydrohalogenating the halocyclohexane to
cyclohexene.
The other class of processes is a single step synthesis in which monocyclic aromatics are only
partially hydrogenated to form the corresponding
cycloolefins. Ruthenium catalysts are often used in these processes.
U.S. Patent No. 3,912,787 discloses a partial hydrogenation process for the production of cyclic olefins using an aqueous dispersion of a solid ruthenium containing catalyst promoted with a transition metal. The aqueous dispersion is maintained at an essentially neutral or acid pH condition. The catalyst may be supported on well known oxidic supports.
U.S. Patent No. 4,079,097 to Antos shows a process for dehydrogenating hydrocarbons using composite catalysts of a combination of a platinum group component, a cobalt component, and a bismuth component all on a porous catalytic carrier.
U.S. Patent No. 4,197,415 shows a process for selectively partially hydrogenating aromatic hydrocarbons to cyclic olefins by contacting the aromatic hydrocarbon with hydrogen and a ruthenium catalyst in an aqueous dispersion containing the salt of a phosphorous acid. The ruthenium catalyst may also be promoted by one of a large number of metals preferably, however, indium, copper, or silver.
U.S. Patent No. 4,392,001 to Don et al. shows a process for the partial hydrogenation of an aromatic hydrocarbon in the gas phase using a ruthenium catalyst.

The reaction takes place in the presence of water vapor.
U.S. Patent No. 4,495,373 to Niwa et al. shows an improved catalyst system for the partial hydrogenation of an aromatic hydrocarbon compound in the liquid phase using an admixture of water and a ruthenium-containing solid catalyst. The catalyst is prepared by the
hydrolysis gelation of a silicon or aluminum alkoxide in a solution containing a ruthenium compound such as ruthenium alkoxide. After gelation, the gelled material is dried. Copper may be included in the gel catalyst. The patent suggests that the resulting catalyst provides "improved catalyst activity and selectivity" in a partial hydrogenation of an aromatic compound over conventional ruthenium-containing catalysts prepared by later
impregnation of a preformed silica gel carrier.
U.S. Patent No. 4,575,572 to Ichihashi et al. also shows a process for partially hydrogenating aromatic hydrocarbons using a catalyst of ruthenium and at least one of iron, cobalt, silver, and copper supported on a barium sulfate carrier all in the presence of water.
U. S. Patent No. 4,665,274 to Ichihashi et al. discloses a process for producing cycloolefins by partial hydrogenation of the corresponding aromatic hydrocarbon with hydrogen gas in the presence of water and a catalyst of ruthenium and one or more metals selected from iron, cobalt, silver, and copper supported on a barium sulfate carrier. The carrier also includes one or more of silica, titania, and alumina.
U.S. Patent No. 4,678,861 to Mitsui et al
(assigned to Asahi Kasei Kogyo K.K.) teaches a process for producing cycloolefins by partially hydrogenating a monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbon in the presence of a supported ruthenium catalyst comprising a rare earth element (apparently preferably lanthanum) . The ruthenium may be present in an amount between 0.1 and 10% of the overall weight of the catalyst. The process is carried out in a multiphase reaction medium of water,
hydrocarbon, catalyst, and hydrogen. The aqueous phase preferably is alkaline and contains dissolved ZnO or Zn(0H)2.
U.S. Patent No. 4,734,536 to Nagahara et al. shows a process for producing a cycloolefin by a partial hydrogenation of a monocylic aromatic hydrocarbon using a neutral or acidic aqueous solution in the presence of a particulate hydrogenation catalyst of metallic ruthenium having an average crystallite size of 20θA or less, zinc compound as a promoter, and at least one additive
selected from the group of oxides, hydroxides, and hydrates of Zr, Hf, Ti, Nb, Ta, Cr, Fe, Co, Al, Ga, and Si.
Japanese Kokai 61-085,334 discloses the
preparation of cycloolefin by partial hydrogenation of aromatic hydrocarbons using a ruthenium-silica catalyst which has been activated through the use of an aliphatic polyhydric alcohol.
Japanese Kokai 62-045544 (assigned to the Asahi Chemical Industry co.) teaches a process for the partial hydrogenation of monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the presence of water, finely crystalline metallic ruthenium (desirably below 200 A, most preferably below 100 A) containing zinc, and an acid (preferably sulfuric acid) to form a solution having a pH between 2.0 and 6.5.
Japanese Kokai 62-067033 to Nagahara et al
(assigned to the Asahi Chemical Industry Co.) teaches that the deactivation of Ru-impregnated La(0H)3 catalysts in benzene partial hydrogenation reactions may be minimized by preventing the accumulation of Fe on the catalyst.
Japanese Kokai 62-081331 to Nagahara et al
(assigned to the Asahi Chemical Industry co.) teaches that the deactivation of Ru-metal catalysts in benzene partial hydrogenation reactions using water as the reaction medium may be minimized by using reactors having walls of titanium or zirconium.
Japanese Kokai 62-081332 to Nagahara et al.

(assigned to the Asahi Chemical Industry co.) teaches a process for the partial hydrogenation of monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the presence of water, finely crystalline metallic ruthenium, and Zr02 or Hf02- Japanese Kokai 62-108826 (assigned to the Asahi

Chemical Industry co.) teaches a process for the partial hydrogenation of monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the presence of water, finely crystalline metallic ruthenium (desirably below 200 A, most preferably belbw 100 A) , salts of Group IA or IIA metals (preferably zinc
sulphate) and an acid (preferably sulfuric acid) to form a solution having a pH between 0.5 and 7.0.
Japanese Kokai 62-142126 to Ichihashi et al. (assigned to the Sumitomo Chemical Co.) teaches a process for the partial hydrogenation of monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the presence of water, ruthenium on supports of Group IA alkali metal salts of phosphorous oxoacids, and salts of phosphorous oxoacids as additives (optionally, with a metal of iron, cobalt, nickel, copper, silver, or zinc --particularly zinc, aluminum, barium, and cobalt orthophosphate) . An example showed 3.8% conversion of benzene and 50.8% selectivity to cyclohexene.
Japanese Kokai 62-205037 to Nagahara et al
(assigned to the Asahi Chemical Industry co.) teaches a process for the partial hydrogenation of monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the presence of water, finely crystalline metallic ruthenium (desirably below 200 A, most preferably below 100 A) , and solid basic zinc sulphate.

Japanese Kokai 62-255438 to Niwa et al
(assigned to Fuji K.K. and the Agency of Industrial
Science and Technology) suggests a process for partially hydrogenating an aromatic hydrocarbon in the presence of H2 with a catalyst of ruthenium and copper prepared by dispersing those metals in a solid obtained from a metal hydroxide (preferably silica, alumina, or zirconia) colloid.
Japanese Kokai 62-294,422 assigned to Asahi Chemical Industries, K.K., shows a process for the partial hydrogenation of monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the presence of water, a hydrogenating catalyst containing fine crystallite ruthenium, and a solid basic zinc sulfate. The conversion of benzene is said to be about 70% and the selectivity to cyclohexene is said to be 70% to 80%.
Japanese Kokai 63-048232 (assigned to the Asahi Chemical Industry Co.) teaches a process for the partial hydrogenation of monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the presence of a ruthenium catalyst on a carrier, zinc oxide or hydroxide, and water containing an accelerator
selected from salts of Group IA or IIA metals, manganese, zinc or cobalt.
Japanese Kokai 63-88139 to Nagahara et al.
(assigned to the Asahi Chemical Industries Co.) shows a process for partially hydrogenating single ring aromatics using hydrogen in the presence of a neutral to acidic aqueous solution and a hydrogenation catalyst containing metallic ruthenium crystallites with a diameter of 20θA or less, at least one separate metal hydroxide or
hydrated metal oxide selected from Ti, Zr, Hf, Nb, Ta, Cr, Fe, Co, Al, Ga, and Si, and further containing at least one solid basic zinc salt.
Japanese Kokai 63-152333 (assigned to the Asahi Chemical Industry co.) teaches a process for the partial hydrogenation of monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the presence of solid basic zinc compounds in neutral or acidic water and metallic ruthenium on a support
(preferably gamma-alumina) .
Japanese Kokai 63-243038 (assigned to the Asahi

Chemical Industry co.) teaches a process for the partial hydrogenation of monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the presence of zinc compounds in neutral or acidic water and finely crystalline metallic ruthenium (desirably between 3θA and 200 A, most preferably between 4θA and 100 A) on a support (preferably Zr02 or Hf02) .
Japanese Kokai 63-243039 (assigned to the Asahi Chemical Industry co.) teaches a process for the partial hydrogenation of monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons in the presence of water; a hydrogenation catalyst of colloidal metallic ruthenium on a metal salt, hydroxide, or oxide support; and a soluble zinc compound.
Japanese Kokai 1-159,059 to Nagahara et al. shows a process for regenerating a ruthenium catalyst which has been used for partial hydrogenation of a cycloaromatic. The catalyst is regenerated by contacting the catalyst with oxygen or with sodium chlorite.
A Japanese publication entitled
Senryotoyakuhin, 1986, 31 (11) , 297-308 (Japan) discloses a process for preparing cyclohexene by partial
hydrogenation of benzene. The reaction takes place in an aqueous medium at about 150°C to 200°C and 30 atmospheres to 70 atmospheres in the presence of a ruthenium catalyst and a copper, silver, or cobalt promoter.
Niwa et al. in a letter in the Journal of
Molecular Catalysis (34, 1986) 247-249, entitled
"Selective Hydrogenation of Benzene to Cyclohexene with New Ruthenium Catalyst Prepared by Chemical Mixing
Procedure" discloses a process for partial hydrogenation of benzene using desirably a catalyst of ruthenium and copper on silica. The communication shows a cyclohexene yield of 31% and a benzene conversion of 83%.
Niwa et al. in J. Chem. Tech. Biotechnol. 1986, 36, 236-246, shows the partial hydrogenation of benzene with a ruthenium catalyst prepared by a specific chemical mixing procedure. The catalysts are made by mixing ruthenium chloride and (optionally, copper chloride) with a diol such as ethylene glycol to form a solution of metal complexes. Tetraethoxysilane was added to the prior solution and water was added to hydrolyze the various metal alkoxides formed during the stirring. The material was then gelled and dried to form the catalyst.
Published European Patent Application 0,323,192 shows a hydrogenation catalyst prepared by adsorbing ruthenium ions on a hydrotalcite clay and then reducing the adsorbed ruthenium ions. The catalyst is said to be suitable for use in partly reducing monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to cyclohexene.
None of the cited references suggest a process for producing cyclic olefins using a ruthenium-based catalyst on a composite support into which a selectivity promoter has been incorporated, nor do the references suggest that such process operates in the absence of soluble selectivity promoter additives in the aqueous phase. The catalyst and process of the present invention have several advantages over the prior art. The
inventive process shows very high yields with very efficient catalysts. The prior art does not suggest that a supported catalyst is capable of such high yields in any similar process. The prior art does not suggest the existence of any unsupported or precipitated catalyst having such high efficiencies or productivities (when measured on a ruthenium basis) . The process of the present invention can be operated at neutral pH and in the absence of added salts and is, therefore, more compatible with lower cost materials of construction than, for example, processes cited in the prior art utilizing sulfuric acid or large amounts of dissolved salts in the aqueous phase.

Summary of the Invention
This invention is a catalyst and process for partially hydrogenating polycyclic or monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to produce the corresponding cycloolefins. The catalyst is a hydrogenation catalyst comprising ruthenium and a selectivity promoter, preferably cobalt, on an oxidic, preferably composite, support. It is a process in which the product cycloolefin is produced in high yield, with high selectivity, and with very high productivities and efficiencies based on ruthenium.
The process is a multiphase operation in which a gaseous hydrogen phase and the solid catalyst are intimately intermixed with two liquid phases: an aqueous phase and a hydrocarbon phase containing both feedstock and product hydrocarbons.
The catalysts comprise ruthenium metal and a selectivity promoter, preferably cobalt metal, on a composite oxidic support. A base oxide such as alumina or silica is at least partially surrounded by a minor amount of a second relatively low inherent surface area oxidic material. The second oxidic material may be selected from metal or semimetal oxides or a lanthanum-containing material of the formula:

x(La0N03) + y(La203) + z(La(N03)3)

where x<l, z<l and x+y+z=l.

Brief Description of the Figure
Figure 1 is a graph showing the composition versus reaction time for the hydrogenation of benzene to a mixture of cyclohexene and cyclohexane according to the procedure of Example 3.

Disclosure of the Invention
This is a catalytic process for partially hydrogenating poly- or monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons to produce the corresponding cycloolefins. The aromatic feedstocks may be such materials as substituted or non-substituted naphthalenes or biphenyls, benzene, or alkylbenzenes such as toluene, o-xylene, m-xylene, p-xylene, ethylbenzene, or similar materials. The hydrogenation catalyst comprises ruthenium and a
selectivity promoter on a composite support. It is a process in which the product cycloolefin is produced in high yield, with high selectivity, and with very high productivities and efficiencies based on ruthenium.

Feedstocks
The feedstocks suitable for this partial hydrogenation process may comprise monocyclic aromatic hydrocarbons such as benzene and alkylbenzenes. Linear and branched alkylbenzene feedstocks may include
compounds such as benzene, toluene, o-, m- , p-xylene, ethylbenzene, n-propylbenzene, cumene, butylbenzenes such as t-butylbenzene and isobutylbenzene, phenylcyclohexane, mesitylene; alkoxy-substituted benzenes such as anisole and phenetole; polyalkylene oxide-substituted benzenes such as polyethylene oxide phenyl ether, or polypropylene oxide phenyl ether; halogenated benzenes, such as
fluorobenzenes, chlorobenzenes, bromobenzenes,
iodobenzenes, and their o- and m- and p-substituted homologues; and similar aromatics and mixtures of any of - ¬

the listed materials. Preferably the monocyclic aromatic compound is unsubstituted, or substituted with no more than one substituent such as an alkyl moiety. Most preferably the compound is benzene.
Other suitable feedstocks include polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons which are substantially aromatic in character, i.e., the overall compound is not so fused or condensed as to lose its ability to act as an aromatic compound in classic chemical reactions in which aromatics take part. The aromatic rings in the polycyclic aromatic compounds may be fused or non-fused. The rings may be substituted at any position with alkyl or ether moieties, preferably, and if present, the substituents are alkyl in nature and contain 1-10 carbon atoms. Preferably, the polycyclic aromatic is unsubstituted or substituted with no more than two C2 moieties. Examples of suitable polycyclic aromatic compounds are biphenyl, diphenyl ether, 4-phenoxy-1,1' -biphenyl, terphenyl , tetraphenyl, diphenylmethane, 1,2-diphenylethane, 1,3- iphenylpropane, methylbiphenyls, ethylbiphenyls, 3- or 4-isopropylbiphenyls, naphthalene, methylnaphthalenes, ethylnaphthalenes, beta-isopropylnaphthalenes, and similar naphthalenes. Preferably, the polycyclic
aromatic compound is a 12_24 compound. Most preferably the polycyclic aromatic compound are naphthalenes or biphenyls .
The feedstream may contain other hydrocarbon materials as well so long as they do not substantially interfere with the partial hydrogenation reaction. For instance, short chain linear and cyclic alkanes do not typically detract from the overall reaction and in some instances improve the overall productivity of the
process.

Catalysts
The process employs a hydrogenation catalyst comprising ruthenium and a selectivity promoter,
preferably cobalt metal, on a composite support.
Ruthenium is present in at least a catalytic amount, i.e., an amount at least suitable for causing a partial hydrogenation reaction to take place on an aromatic compound. Typically the catalyst need contain no more than about 20 % by weight ruthenium (based on the total weight of the ruthenium and the composite support) and preferably less than about 10% by weight and most preferably about 5-10% by weight. We have found that the catalyst contains ruthenium crystallites which are well dispersed and no more than about 25 A in average diameter. The selectivity promoter is present in an amount sufficient to produce enhanced selectivity to the partially hydrogenated cycloolefin product. When it is present in too low an amount no appreciable effect is observed; when it is present in too high an amount it can act as a catalyst poison and cause low reaction rates and low selectivities to the desired cycloolefin. The selectivity promoter may be selected from Fe, Co, Ni, Zn, Cu, Ag, Au, Pd, and Pt, It is preferably cobalt metal present in a weight ratio of cobalt-to-ruthenium of
0.05:1 to 5:1, preferably 0.1:1 to 2:1, and more
preferably from 0.5:1 to 1.5:1. Similar ratios are appropriate for the other metals.
We have found that although the ruthenium catalyst works well without special regard to the method in which it is placed onto the support, if a specific procedure ("heat-soaking") is employed, the results are enhanced. That desired impregnation procedure involves dissolving a ruthenium compound such as ruthenium
nitrosylnitrate or RuCl3 hydrate in an acidic solution (preferably containing 1.0 % to 30 % HC1) and then holding the resulting solution at an elevated temperature (preferably between 70°C and the boiling point of the solution) for a period of time sufficient to enhance the resulting catalyst's activity and stability. The
solution, preferably after cooling, is then contacted with a suitable catalyst support and finally treated to dry the solid, which is then reduced to convert the supported ruthenium to its metallic form.
The method for placing the selectivity promoter onto the support is believed to be critical to the performance of the catalyst. It is considered necessary first to have the ruthenium present on the surface of the support in the metallic state. The selectivity promoter is then loaded onto the support without perturbing the morphology of the supported metallic ruthenium. Our preferred method for loading the selectivity promoter onto the support is by reductive absorption from an aqueous solution of a dissolved salt of the selectivity promoting metal.
The composite support may comprise a major amount of a first relatively high specific surface area oxidic core material which is at least partially
surrounded by a minor amount of a second relatively low inherent surface area oxidic material. The second oxidic material may be selected from metal or semimetal oxides or a lanthanum-containing material of the formula:

x(LaON03) + y(La203) + z(La(N03)3)

where x<l, z<l and x+y+z=l.
The specific surface area of the composite support is substantially higher than that of the second oxidic material. Very desirable oxidic core materials are high surface area (greater than about 50 m2/gm) silica, alumina, and silica-alumina. In particular, silica and transition phase aluminas such as eta or gamma phase materials or mixtures of the two are suitable.
The second oxidic material is either a metal or semimetal oxide having a low inherent surface area (less than about 10 irr/gm) or the lanthanum oxygen-nitrogen material mentioned above. Suitable metal or semimetal oxides include lanthanum oxide, zinc oxide, boria, ceria, zirconia, titania, or the like.

Modes for Carrying Out the Invention
One preferred method of preparing a desired catalyst is the following procedure:

1. The high surface area oxidic core material
is crushed and sieved to a powder with
particle sizes in the range of 0.1 micron
to 1 millimeter in diameter.

2. A salt precursor to the second oxidic
material is loaded onto the oxidic core
material from an aqueous solution by
standard methods such as incipient
wetness, adsorption, or others known to
those skilled in the art.

3. The composite is calcined in air at 500- 1500°C for 1-20 hours to convert the
supported salt precursor to the oxide or
to a mixture of oxide, nitrate, and
oxynitrate.

4. A ruthenium salt solution is prepared by
dissolving the ruthenium salt in water
that preferably contains HC1; the acidic
solution is heated to 80-100°C for about 1 hour; the acidic solution is cooled to
room temperature.

5. A sufficient quantity of the acidic
5 ruthenium solution to give the desired
ruthenium loading is contacted with the
composite oxide support to effect loading
of the ruthenium onto the composite oxide
support. It is preferred to adjust the

10 concentration of the ruthenium salt in- the
acidic solution to the value required to
give the desired loading in a volume of
acidic solution approximately equal to
incipient wetness volume of the composite

15 oxide support. For ruthenium loadings
above 7.5% this procedure is preferably
carried out as a series of multiple
loadings. For example, to prepare a
catalyst that will contain 10% ruthenium,

20 it is preferred to impregnate the
composite oxide support in two steps with
about 5% ruthenium being deposited in each
step. The material is dried between
loading steps.
25
6. The moist mass is dried.

7. The supported ruthenium salt is reduced to
ruthenium metal. A preferred method for

30 reducing the supported ruthenium salt is
by heating at 200-600°C in flowing
hydrogen for 1-20 hours. Other reduction
methods and other reducing agents may be
used.
35 8. The supported ruthenium metal is suspended
in an aqueous solution of a salt of the
selectivity promoter, preferably the salt
is cobalt sulfate, under hydrogen at
elevated pressure and heated to 100-200°C,
preferably to 150°C, and agitated for a
sufficient time to effect reduction and
loading of the cobalt onto the support.

9. The aqueous solution is removed and
replaced with water that has a pH in the
range of 2 to 7, preferably 6-7. The
method for removal and replacement of the
aqueous solution is not critical but one
preferred method is to perform the
operation in a stirred tank reactor and
feed several volumes of the replacement
water continuously to the reactor while
removing the aqueous phase at the same
rate as the addition rate. After feeding
3-10 volumes of the replacement water, the
aqueous phase composition in the reactor
will be the same as the replacement water.

During the treatment of the supported ruthenium metal with the aqueous solution of the salt of a
selectivity promoter, the pH drops from an initial value near neutral to a value between 3 and 6. This drop in pH is likely the result of reduction of the selectivity promoter cation to the supported metallic selectivity promoter according to the following idealized reaction:


It is important to note that cations such as cobalt (II) will not be reduced to the metallic state at the
conditions stated above; however, the reduction of the selectivity promoter cation is catalyzed in the presence of metallic ruthenium on the support. Thus, the
procedure outlined above for generating the catalyst of the present invention has two key factors which are considered to be important in producing the desired catalyst. The first factor is the mild conditions required to effect reduction of the selectivity promoter cation; at these conditions the morphology of the
supported ruthenium metal particles is stable. The second factor is the requirement that the reduction of the selectivity promoting cation is catalyzed by
ruthenium; this results in the selectivity promoting metal being in close physical proximity to the ruthenium metal where its selectivity promoting effect is realized.
The active catalyst comprises ruthenium metal particles and cobalt metal supported on a composite support wherein the composite support has a BET surface area of at least 50 m2/gm and wherein a major fraction of the ruthenium particles are less than 25 A in diameter.

Process
The process of this invention entails using the noted catalyst in an amount of about 0.01% to about 50% of the weight of the aromatic to be partially
hydrogenated. The amount of catalyst should be
minimized, but 1% to about 20% should be adequate under most circumstances to perform the reaction. The amount of catalyst may also be varied depending upon the mode of operation desired and the desired overall reaction rate. By mode of operation, we mean that the process of partial hydrogenation may be carried out in a continuous or a discontinuous mode, in fixed bed, trickle bed or slurry reactors, in a batch, semi-batch, multiple batch
reactions, or a continuous stirred tank reactor or a series of continuous stirred tank reactors. It is preferred to operate in a plug flow reactor mode, for example, fixed bed, trickle bed, or a series of
continuous stirred tank reactors, rather than in a back mixed reactor mode as in a single stirred reactor, for example. The observed overall rate of conversion will generally increase with increasing ratio of catalyst to aromatic feed; however, since there are physical
limitations imposed by the maximum rate of transfer of reactants to the catalyst, depending on the mode of operation and the extent of agitation, there will be a limit beyond which further addition of catalyst will not affect the overall rate of conversion of the aromatic feed. It is preferred to operate in a well mixed reactor with efficient agitation.
This process uses an inherently complex four-phase system: a gaseous hydrogen phase; an aqueous phase; a hydrocarbon phase containing aromatic feeds and
partially and fully hydrogenated products; and the solid catalyst phase. The system is preferably operated in a mode which produces the maximum amount of partially hydrogenated products.
The ratio of the aqueous phase volume to the organic phase (aromatic plus products) volume is
preferably at 1:1 or below 1:1. It is preferred to use the minimum amount of aqueous phase for a given volume of organic phase to reduce the required size of the
reactor(s) . The actual ratio will depend on the mode of operation. For continuous stirred tank reactors in series or as a single reactor, the preferred volume ratio is from 0.1:1 to 1:1. For trickle bed or fixed bed reactor modes of operation, the phase ratio is determined by factors other than reactor size. To effect turbulent flow in a trickle bed or fixed bed reactor, the
volumetric flow of the aqueous phase can be much higher than the volumetric flow of the feed aromatic, wherein the volumetric flow of the feed aromatic is dependent upon the desired conversion per unit length of the reactor. In the specific case of a trickle bed reactor, the volumetric feed ratio of aqueous phase to aromatic feed will generally be greater than 5:1 and could be in the range of 5:1 to 100:1.
In the case of stirred tank reactors, either continuous, batch or semi-batch, it is preferred that the organic phase be the continuous phase with the aqueous phase being dispersed, under agitation, as small droplets within the continuous organic phase. The requirement is generally met when the volume ratio of aqueous phase to organic phase is at 1:1 or less than 1:1.
In this process, partial hydrogenation may be carried out continuously or by batch. Although we prefer to use a continuous, stirred, multistage, series of reactors, other reactors employing suspended catalysts may be employed as may fixed or trickle beds. The reaction conditions are dependent in large measure upon the chosen form of the catalyst but in general we have found that the overall process pressure (hydrogen
pressure plus the vapor pressure of the reactants, water, and products) should be between about 200 psig and 2000 psig, preferably between 300 psig and 800 psig. The reaction temperature should be between 100°C and 200°C, preferably between 120°C and 170°C.
In a typical reaction, hydrogen is fed "on demand"; that is, the hydrogen pressure is maintained at a constant value and hydrogen is continuously added to the reactor as it is consumed by the partial
hydrogenation reaction. In certain reactor
configurations it may be preferable to feed excess hydrogen through the reaction zone. In this particular mode of operation the" excess volume of hydrogen acts as a stripping agent to remove products from the reaction zone in the vapor phase. A particularly preferred mode of operation includes flowing excess hydrogen at a
sufficient rate to remove products from the reaction zone at the same molar rate as the feed rate of the aromatic compound being partially hydrogenated. By careful adjustments of the aromatic feed rate and the hydrogen flow rate, the residence time of the aromatic feed in the reaction zone may be controlled. This is an effective means of controlling the conversion in a continuous stirred tank reactor or in a series of continuous stirred tank reactors operated at steady state. This mode of operation greatly simplifies the operational difficulties inherent in modes of operation that require transfer and recycle of the aqueous catalyst slurry. By removing the products in the vapor phase, the solid catalyst remains in the reactor(s) and the need to pump a solids-containing slurry is eliminated. Some of the water in the reactor(s) is also removed through the stripping action of the excess hydrogen flow. This water may be recovered upon cooling and condensation of the vapor phase since the organic compounds form a separate liquid phase. The recovered water may be recycled to the reactor(s) to maintain the aqueous volume at a constant value. Optionally, this water may be discarded and fresh water used to make-up the aqueous volume in the
reactor (s) . While the ratio of hydrogen to aromatic is not a critical parameter, it is required that a
sufficient volume of hydrogen be present in the reaction zone to allow for efficient mixing and dissolution of hydrogen in the organic and aqueous phases. This can be accomplished by maintaining a vapor volume in the reactor equal to 0.1 to 1 times the total liquid volume.

The productivity of the catalyst when used in the inventive process desirably is in the range of 10 to 500 pounds of partially hydrogenated aromatic product per pound of catalyst per hour, preferably 30 to 300 pounds of partially hydrogenated aromatic per pound of catalyst per hour.

EXAMPLES

The examples show the production of our
inventive catalyst and the practice of our inventive process. Our conventions in discussing yield,
conversion, selectivity, and the like in the following examples are as follows:

% Yield (Y) = (moles of cycloolefin
produced/moles of aromatic
feed) times 100
% Conversion (C) = (moles of aromatic feed
converted/moles of aromatic
feed) times 100
% Selectivity (S) = (moles of cyclooleifin
produced/moles of
aromatic hydrocarbon
consumed) times 100
Productivity (P) = pounds of partially
hydrogenated product
per pound of catalyst
per hour
Efficiency pounds of partially
hydrogenated product
produced per pound of
ruthenium used in the
supported ruthenium
catalyst per hour.

EXAMPLE 1
This example shows the preparation of a
composite support of lanthanum oxide and lanthanum oxynitrate on silica. A 200 gm sample of powdered silica (Degussa Sipernat 22; average agglomerate size of 100 microns; surface area of 190 m2/gm) was heated in air at 500°C for 16 hours. A solution of 59.07 gm of
La(N03) 3 6H20 (Alfa) in 200 ml distilled water was prepared. After cooling the silica to room temperature, the aqueous solution of lanthanum nitrate was added dropwise with continuous mechanical mixing to load the silica pores. This incipient wetness loading method resulted in the formation of a free flowing material which was dried at 80°C for 3 hours with intermittent mixing every 15 minutes during the first hour. The dried solid was heated in air at 500°C for 16 hours. The nominal loading of lanthanum species, as weight percent lanthanum, was 9.5 wt.%. Infrared spectroscopic analysis confirmed the presence of nitrate in the sample. Thermal gravimetric analysis confirmed that the supported
component consisted of a mixture of lanthanum oxide and lanthanum oxynitrate. The surface area of the composite support was about 130 m2/gm.

EXAMPLE 2
This example shows the preparation of a
metallic ruthenium catalyst promoted with metallic cobalt on a composite support.
The composite supported metallic ruthenium of this example was prepared by the incipient wetness method using an incipient wetness volume of one milliliter per gram of composite support from Example 1. The desired loading was 10 wt.% ruthenium, thus the composite support was impregnated twice with sufficient solution to give 5 wt.% ruthenium per impregnation. A solution of 20% aqueous HC1 was prepared by adding 237.8 milliliters of concentrated HC1 to 202.2 milliliters of distilled water. The first impregnation solution was prepared by dissolving 25.85 gm of RuCl3*xH20 (Johnson Matthey, 44.8% ruthenium) in 220 milliliters of the 20% HC1 solution. The solution was heated to 90QC and held at 90°C for one hour. After cooling to room temperature, the solution was added dropwise, with mechanical mixing, to 220 gm of the composite support from Example 1. The resulting free flowing material was dried at 80°C with intermittent mixing every 15 minutes during the first hour. The dried material was cooled to room temperature and the incipient wetness loading procedure repeated with a second solution of 28.85 gm of RuCl3»xH20 in 220 milliliters of 20% HC1 that had been heated to 90°C, and held at 90°C for one hour, and cooled to room temperature. The resulting free flowing material was dried at 80°C with intermittent mixing every 15 minutes during the first hour. The supported ruthenium salt was reduced to supported
ruthenium metal by placing a quantity (2-5 gm) into a tubular reactor, purging the reactor with helium for 15 minutes at a flow of 2 standard liters per minute, switching to flowing hydrogen at 2 standard liters per minute, heating to 110°C at 7°C per minute, holding at 110°C for 30 minutes, heating to 400°C at 6°C per minute, holding at 400°C for 3 hours, and cooling to room
temperature. The supported ruthenium metal was stored in an inert atmosphere glove box until use. Analysis of the ruthenium crystallite size using transmission electron microscopy showed that more than 90% of the well
dispersed crystallites were smaller than 25 A in
diameter.
A sample (0.3 gm) of the supported metallic ruthenium was added to a one liter TEFLON-lined reactor containing 150 ml of distilled water at 150°C into which 0.9 gm CoS04*7H20 had been dissolved;**the pressure was maintained at 400 psig with hydrogen and the suspension was stirred at 2000 RPM. The pH of the aqueous phase dropped from an initial value of 6-7 to about 3 during this treatment indicating reduction of cobalt (II) and deposition of cobalt metal onto the supported metallic ruthenium. After one hour the mixing rate was reduced to 50 RPM and 750 ml of deoxygenated water at pH 5 was pumped into the reactor at a rate of about 25 ml per minute; the well mixed aqueous phase was removed at the same rate of addition. At the end of this procedure the aqueous phase remaining in the reactor (150 ml) had a pH of 5 and contained less than 5 ppm of dissolved salts.

The weight ratio of cobalt-to-ruthenium was approximately 1:1.

EXAMPLE 3
This example shows the use of the catalyst of

Example 2 for the partial hydrogenation of benzene.
To the ruthenium-cobalt on composite support catalyst prepared in Example 2 was added 250 ml of benzene (preheated to 150°) and the total pressure adjusted to 650 psig with hydrogen. Stirring was
maintained at 2000 RPM and the pressure at 650 psig for the duration of the reaction; the pH remained at a value of about 5 during the course of the reaction. The liquid mixture in the reactor was sampled periodically and the composition was determined by a standard gas
chromatographic method. The composition versus time is shown in the Figure. The maximum yield of cyclohexene was 35.7% at 75.0% conversion after a reaction time of 50 minutes. The selectivity to cyclohexene was 47.6%. The productivity was 398 pounds of cyclohexene per pound of catalyst per hour and the efficiency was 3980 pounds of cyclohexene per pound of ruthenium per hour.

EXAMPLE 4
This example shows the use of a catalyst prepared as in Example 2 with the use of less cobalt sulfate (0.3 gm) in the aqueous phase used to load cobalt onto the composite supported metallic ruthenium and using water at pH 7 to replace the aqueous phase and carry out the hydrogenation of benzene. All other steps and conditions were identical to those used in Example 3.
The maximum yield of cyclohexene was 34.4% at 77.0% conversion after a reaction time of 75 minutes.' The selectivity to cyclohexene was 44.7%. The
productivity was 274 pounds of cyclohexene per pound of catalyst per hour and the efficiency was 2740 pounds of cyclohexene per pound of ruthenium per hour. This example shows that the selective hydrogenation of benzene to cyclohexene in high yield can be carried out in the absence of a dissolved salt promoter and at neutral pH.

This invention has been shown both by
description and by example. The examples are however only examples; they should not be used in any fashion to limit the scope of the invention otherwise described here.
Additionally, it should be clear that one having ordinary skill in this art would envision
equivalents to the processes found in the claims that follow and that these equivalents would be within the scope and spirit of the claimed invention.