Selective Microwave-Assisted Pyrolysis of Cellulose towards Levoglucosenone with Clay Catalysts

Alisa Doroshenko, Ihor Pylypenko, Karl Heaton, Stephen Cowling, James Clark*, Vitaliy Budarin

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Levoglucosenone (anhydrosugar) is one of the most promising chemical platforms derived from the pyrolysis of biomass. It is a chiral building block for pharmaceuticals as well as an intermediate in the production of solvents and polymers. Therefore, the development of cost-efficient, low-energy production methods is vital for a future sustainable biorefinery. Here, a novel, green approach to the production of levoglucosenone was developed by using a microwave (MW)-assisted pyrolysis of cellulose in the presence of readily available clays. It was shown that natural and pillared clays in the presence of MW irradiation significantly increase the yield of levoglucosenone from cellulose. Both the water content and the presence of acid centres are critical characteristics that influence the yield and distribution of catalysed products. A unique experiment was designed by using a synergetic effect between different types of catalysts, which enhanced the levoglucosenone yield to 12.3 wt % with 63 % purity.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages5
Early online date6 Nov 2019
Publication statusPublished - 22 Nov 2019

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© 2019 Wiley‐VCH Verlag GmbH & Co. KGaA, Weinheim. This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy. Further copying may not be permitted; contact the publisher for details.


  • biomass
  • cellulose
  • clays
  • microwave chemistry
  • pyrolysis

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