Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, Vol.58, No.8, 2697-2703, 2019
Enhanced Levulinic Acid Production from Cellulose by Combined Bronsted Hydrothermal Carbon and Lewis Acid Catalysts
This study presents a synergistic catalytic system using the combination of Bronsted hydrothermal carbon-based acid (HTCG-SO3H) and Lewis acid catalysts for one-pot conversion of cellulose to levulinic acid (LA). Chromium chloride (CrCl3), among a number of other Lewis acidic metal chlorides, was found to give the highest LA yields, and was therefore used in combination with the HTCG-SO3H, for cellulose conversion to LA. With the appropriate amount of HTCG-SO3H, the formation of side products could be reduced, resulting in improved selectivity of LA. Compared with that obtained by CrCl3 alone, at 5 wt % HTCG-SO3H, 0.015 M CrCl3, 200 degrees C and 5 min reaction time, the LA yield was considerably enhanced from 30 wt % to 40 wt %. Since HTCG-SO3H is a heterogeneous catalyst that can be easily prepared from biomass at moderate temperature, its use in such combined catalyst system offers economic and environmental benefits, thus making large-scale implementation of such process potentially feasible.