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Reduction of Esters via Aldehydes to Alcohols

Reduction of Esters to Alcohols via Aldehydes: Industrial Applications

In industry, fatty acids are converted first into methyl- or butylesters before being reduced to the corresponding alcohols by catalytic hydrogenation. The catalysts are copper chromite or ZnO/CuO. The resulting alcohols are used in the preparation of surfactants . Reaction with chlorosulfonic acids yields alkyl-surfactants which are classified as anionic surfactants. Adducts resulting from the treatment of fatty alcohols with ethylene oxide are being used as non-ionic surfactants .

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