Catalysts play a crucial role in converting raw materials into valuable products in today’s swiftly evolving world, where sustainability and efficiency are paramount. One such important chemical is oxalic acid, widely used in bleaching, metal surface cleaning, and rust removal. As the demand for environmentally friendly and efficient chemical production methods increases, innovative catalysts that improve this process could revolutionize how oxalic acid is produced. The breakthrough potential lies in mesoporous materials’ remarkable characteristics, which are engineered for better selectivity and performance. By carefully designing these materials’ structure and composition, scientists have made it possible to produce oxalic acid more efficiently, reducing waste and lowering costs.

A study in the journal Heliyon reveals that researchers Jasem Suliman Al Ebraheem, Professor Mohammad Nour Ahmad Alkhoder, and Professor Reem Hani Tulaimat from Albaath University in Syria created and analyzed mesoporous V–Mo-MCM-41 nanocatalysts to improve oxalic acid production. This essential chemical, used extensively in various industries, was obtained using these innovative nanocatalysts from molasses.

Scientists used the direct hydrothermal method to synthesize these nanocatalysts. Tetraethyl orthosilicate (TEOS) served as a silica source, while cetyltrimethylammonium bromide (CTAB) acted as a surfactant template to guide the formation. Techniques like nitrogen gas adsorption, Fourier-transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and scanning electron microscopy (SEM-EDX) verified the catalysts’ mesoporous structure and showed how changing the ratio of vanadium and molybdenum impacted surface area, pore size, and pore volume.

Nanocatalysts proved their high efficiency in synthesizing oxalic acid, reaching an 83% yield within an hour with minimal sulfuric acid. This was achieved using a response surface methodology (RSM), adjusting variables such as catalyst dosage, sulfuric acid, nitric acid, and reaction time. This approach helped find the best conditions to maximize oxalic acid production while minimizing sulfuric acid usage and reducing reaction time.

Researcher Jasem Al Ebraheem emphasized that the research results were truly remarkable, as the composite nanocatalysts have demonstrated their exceptional ability to enhance the reaction process by harnessing the synergistic effect of loading both vanadium and molybdenum onto a single support. Additionally, the utilization of design software in conducting chemical experiments to achieve the highest reaction efficiency has been highlighted. This, in turn, opens up new avenues for sustainable and economically viable industrial applications.

Professor Mohammad Alkhoder emphasized the significance of their results, “Our study showcases the potential of V–Mo-MCM-41 nanocatalysts to significantly boost oxalic acid yields, leveraging the unique properties of these mesoporous materials.”

Professor Reem Tulaimat pointed out the advantages of their method, saying, “The method we developed not only maximizes the efficiency of oxalic acid production but also contributes to reducing hazardous waste, as it requires lower amounts of sulfuric acid compared to traditional processes.”

These results hold significant promise for the chemical industry. The newly developed V–Mo-MCM-41 catalysts improve oxalic acid synthesis efficiency while using fewer resources. This work offers a promising direction for further exploration in catalyst design and optimization, contributing to sustainable and economically feasible chemical production.

Journal Reference

Jasem Suliman Al Ebraheem, Mohammad Nour Ahmad Alkhoder, Reem Hani Tulaimat. “Synthesis and characterization of mesoporous V–Mo-MCM-41 nanocatalysts: Enhancing efficiency in oxalic acid synthesis,” Heliyon (2024). DOI:,

About The Author

Jasem Al Ebraheem, I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Applied Chemistry from Al-Baath University in Homs. During my academic career, I had the privilege of teaching in the laboratories of the Faculty of Science, Department of Chemistry. Motivated by a deep interest in studying catalysts and their role in chemical reactions, I pursued a Master’s degree in Physical Chemistry, specializing in catalysts. This program provided me with advanced knowledge and research skills in areas such as catalyst synthesis, characterization techniques, and catalytic mechanisms. My thesis focused on the design and characterization of novel catalysts for improving the efficiency of specific chemical reactions. |

Reem Tulaimat, professor Reem Tulaimat holds a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from CLAUDE BERNARD LYON University in France in 1992. Her specialization was in kinetics and catalysis. She served as an assistant professor in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia from 1999 to 2004. From 2005 to 2024, she held the position of assistant professor at Al-Baath University. She has published research papers in Applied Catalysis A: General Journal, Journal of non-crystallin solids and Reaction Kinetics and Catalysis Letters journal. also has supervised numerous graduate students in the field of catalysis and photocatalysis. | -0004 -0311 -1846

Mohammad Nour Alkhoder, Professor Mohammad Nour Alkhoder  holds a Master’s degree and a Ph.D. in Physical Chemistry from Al-Baath University, with a GPA of 94% in both degrees, Dr. Al-Khadir has extensive experience as a lecturer, teaching subjects including General Chemistry, Physical Chemistry, and Catalysis to graduate and postgraduate students, Published many researches (uranium extraction, production of silicate catalysts, preparation of activated charcoal, preparation of nanoparticles and extraction of rare earth elements), currently I’m working on the preparation of nanoparticles using plasma. | -0001 -9981 -3471