Ion-exchange of an Al-rich zeolite beta, synthesized by organic structure-directing agent-free method (Beta-OF), was studied for application as a base catalyst. While the as-synthesized Beta-OF in Na-form itself had base sites and showed moderate catalytic activity for Knoevenagel condensation, the ion-exchange with Cs+ improved the catalytic activity. For Knoevenagel condensation of benzaldehyde with ethyl acetoacetate, the catalytic activity of Beta-OF ion-exchanged with Cs+ largely surpassed that of the conventional zeolite beta with less Al content. CO2-TPD and IR observation with chloroform as a probe molecule revealed that the Cs-exchanged Beta-OF had strong base sites comparable to Cs-exchanged Y zeolite. Base strength of Beta-OF was stronger than that expected by Sanderson's theory. A local high density of Al atoms in the framework of Beta-OF resulted in the unexpected base property and high catalytic activity.
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