As an important base chemical, ethylene glycol is not only the main raw material of PET, an important plastic product, but also widely used in other fields of the chemical industry. At present, more than 90% of ethylene glycol production in the industry is through the oil route, namely the ethylene-epoxy hydration route, which is inefficient and energy-intensive. In addition, the route for the synthesis of ethylene glycol from coal-based syngas via dimethyl oxalate is long and costly. Methanol can be produced from coal, natural gas, biomass, or even carbon dioxide via syngas and is cheaply available. It is an important C1 platform molecule. Therefore, the direct production of ethylene glycol from methanol is of great significance. The research teams of DENG Dehui at CAS DICP, WANG Ye and CHENG Jun at Xiamen University prepared a porous MoS2-foam with modified CdS nanorod which dehydrogenated methanol under visible light irradiation to produce ethylene glycol and hydrogen. By reactor design, the selectivity of ethylene glycol formation was up to 90%, the yield was 16%, and the quantum efficiency 5 % (450nm).

CAS news release, March 28, 2018