Catalytic hydrolysis of cellulose to levulinic acid by partly replacing sulfuric acid with Nafion® NR50 catalyst

  • Yongjun Xu
  • Guiheng Liu
  • Jinxia Fu
  • Shimin KangEmail author
  • Yukui Xiao
  • Pingju Yang
  • Wenbo Liao
Original Article


Acid catalytic hydrolysis of cellulose to levulinic acid (LA) was conducted by partly replacing homogeneous catalyst sulfuric acid (H2SO4) with solid acid Nafion® NR50. With the presence of Nafion® NR50, 75% of H2SO4 catalyst can be saved, and a high LA yield, 40.4 wt%, was realized even without stirring the reaction solution. Although stirring favored the LA yield and shortened the reaction time, the deactivation of Nafion® NR50 was observed. In fact, non-stirring condition is advocated, under which the Nafion® NR50 still maintains excellent catalytic activity and reusability.


Cellulose Levulinic acid Hydrolysis Catalytic Nafion® NR50 


Funding information

This work was supported by the funding of the Engineering Research Center of None-food Biomass Efficient Pyrolysis and Utilization Technology of Guangdong Higher Education Institutes (2016GCZX009), the National Natural Science Foundations of China (21606045, 51476036), the Natural Science Foundation of Guangdong Province of China (2017 A030313084), the Guangdong Innovation Research Team for Higher Education (2017KCXTD030), and the High-level Talents Project of Dongguan University of Technology (KCYKYQD2017017).


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Engineering Research Center of None-food Biomass Efficient Pyrolysis and Utilization Technology of Guangdong Higher Education InstitutesDongguan University of TechnologyDongguanChina
  2. 2.Guangdong Provincial Key Laboratory of Distributed Energy SystemsDongguan University of TechnologyDongguanChina
  3. 3.Hawaii Natural Energy InstituteUniversity of HawaiiHonoluluUSA

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