Catalysis Letters, Vol.149, No.10, 2749-2757, 2019
Catalytic Transfer Hydrogenation of Biomass-Derived Ethyl Levulinate into Gamma-Valerolactone Over Graphene Oxide-Supported Zirconia Catalysts
The transformation of biomass-derived intermediates into value-added chemicals and liquid fuels is of great importance in sustainable chemistry. In this study, graphene oxide supported ZrO2 (ZrO2/GO) was found to be an active heterogeneous catalyst for the transfer hydrogenation of ethyl levulinate to gamma-valerolactone (GVL) with iso-propanol as the hydrogen donor. Several important reaction parameters such as the hydrogen donor, the reaction temperature and the catalyst loading were studied in detail with the aim to get a high yield of GVL. It was found that the structure of alcohols had a great effect towards the activity of the ZrO2/GO catalyst and the selectivity of GVL. Iso-propanol was the best hydrogen donor for the transfer hydrogenation of ethyl levulinate to GVL. The highest GVL yield reached 91.7% with an ethyl levulinate conversion of 96.2% under optimal reaction conditions. More importantly, the ZrO2/GO catalyst demonstrated a high stability without the loss of its catalytic activity during the recycling experiments, which should be due to the strong interaction between GO and ZrO2.Graphical AbstractThe graphene oxide supported ZrO2 (ZrO2/GO) catalyst showed high activity for the transfer hydrogenation of ethyl levulinate to GVL with a high yield up to 91.7%. [GRAPHICS] .