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Towards a bio-based industry: Benign catalytic esterifications of succinic acid in the presence of water

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JournalChemistry - A European Journal
DatePublished - 2007
Issue number24
Volume13
Number of pages6
Pages (from-to)6914-6919
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The biorefinery of the future will need to integrate bioconversion and appropriate low environmental impact chemical technologies (Green Chemistry) so as to produce a wide range of products from biomass in an economically effective and environmentally acceptable manner. The challenge for chemists is to develop chemistry that works with fermentation-derived dilute, aqueous mixtures of oxygenated chemicals (platform molecules) rather than the petroleum-derived non-aqueous, non-oxygenated feedstocks we have been working with for 50+ years and to avoid energy intensive and wasteful concentration and purification steps. Here we show that a new family of tuneable mesoporous carbonaceous catalysts derived from starch can be used to accomplish efficient chemistry in aqueous solution. Our new aqueous catalytic chemistry relies on the ability to adjust the surface properties including the hydrophobicity-hydrophilicity balance of mesoporous Starbons by carbonisation at different temperatures (250-750 degrees C). Simple treatment of these materials with sulfuric acid then provides a series of porous solid acids that can function under a range of conditions including dilute aqueous solution. The reactions of succinic acid (platform molecule) in aqueous alcohol demonstrate the outstanding activities of these new catalysts.

    Research areas

  • biorefinery, esterification, heterogeneous catalysis, mesoporous materials, MONTMORILLONITE CLAY CATALYSTS, GREEN CHEMISTRY, ACETIC-ACID, PROPANOIC ACID, SULFONIC-ACID, ANHYDRIDE, KINETICS, METHANOL, BIODIESEL, ALCOHOL

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