Efficient conversion of cellulose to methyl levulinate over heteropoly acid promoted by Sn-Beta zeolite
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One-pot conversion of cellulose to valued-added platform chemicals such as alkyl levulinate is a promising and challenging process of biomass utilization due to the insolubility of cellulose in alcohol. In this work, commercial heteropoly acid combined with postsynthesized Sn-Beta zeolite was employed to transform cellulose to methyl levulinate (MLE) in one pot. The synergistic catalysis of the homogeneous strong Brønsted (B) acid and the solid strong Lewis (L) acid can effectively realize the depolymerization of solid cellulose and the subsequent isomerization, dehydration and hydration steps to MLE. 55% and 62% of MLE yields were obtained from α-cellulose and microcrystalline cellulose, respectively, at 160 °C for 10 h. Various carbohydrates besides cellulose can also be efficiently converted to MLE in high yields over the bifunctional catalyst system. The effects of the amount of B acid and L acid, the reaction temperature and time and the amount of cellulose on the production of MLE were investigated in detail. Finally, the reaction pathway of cellulose to MLE was revealed. Recyclability tests indicated that the binary catalyst can be reused without decrease of catalytic activity.
KeywordsMethyl levulinate Cellulose Sn-Beta Heteropoly acid
We acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant: 21503192), the State Key Laboratory of Catalysis in DICP (N-16-02). The program of Young Key Teacher of Zhengzhou University is also acknowledged.
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Conflict of interest
The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.
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