The selective oxidation of veratryl alcohol (VA), a model compound of lignin, with oxygen molecules to produce veratraldehyde (VAld) was studied over monometallic Au, Pd, and bimetallic Au:Pd nanoparticles supported on a Ce0.62Zr0.38O₂ mixed oxide for the first time. These bimetallic Au-Pd catalysts with Au:Pd molar ratios from 0.4 to 4.3 were synthesized by the sol-immobilization method. Furthermore, all the catalysts were characterized by inductively coupled plasma-atomic emission spectroscopy (ICP-AES), N₂ physisorption, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS), scanning transmission electron microscopy-high angle annular dark field (STEM-HAADF) imaging, energy dispersive X-ray spectroscopy (EDXS), and temperature programmed reduction (TPR) techniques. A synergistic effect between gold and palladium was observed over all the bimetallic catalysts in a wide range of studied Au:Pd ratios. Remarkably, the optimum Au:Pd ratio for this reaction was 1.4 with a turnover frequency of almost six times larger than for the monometallic gold and palladium catalysts. Selectivity to veratraldehyde was higher than 99% for the monometallic Au, Pd, and all the bimetallic Au-Pd catalysts, and stayed constant during the reaction time.
Keywords: Au:Pd molar ratio; bimetallic Au-Pd catalyst; ceria-zirconia; lignin; veratryl alcohol oxidation.