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【seminar】Mechanistic Insights into the Production of Alkyl Lactates by Catalytic Conversion of Cellulosic Biomass
Published:2015-12-15 Hits:438

Speaker: Hongfei Lin

                   Assistant Professor, Chemical and Materials Engineering, University of Nevada, Reno, United States

      Time: Dec 20th (Sunday), 9:30

   Venue: Room 226, Department of Environmental Science and Engineering



        Biomass-derived alkyl lactates are “green” solvents with a growing market as the replacement of petroleum derived toxic organic solvents. Herein we demonstrated that cellulosic biomass can be effectively converted to alkyl lactates in a “one-pot” process using near- / super- critical alcohol-water mixture as the solvents using the Zr-SBA-15 silicate catalysts with tunable mesoporous structures.  For the first time, a yield of ~33% ethyl lactate was produced directly from cellulose at 260°C in the supercritical 95:5 (w/w) ethanol/water mixture solution with the Zr-SBA-15 catalyst. Moreover, the high yields of methyl lactate, up to 41 % and 44%, were produced from pentose and hexose, respectively, in the near- critical methanol at 240°C. The Si/Zr ratio of the Zr-SBA-15 catalysts profoundly affected the Lewis acidity and therefore the catalytic activity and selectivity to methyl lactate in the conversion of carbohydrates.  The pore size of the Zr-SBA-15 catalysts, tuned by the synthesis temperature, strongly affected the formation of solid residues. Lastly, the catalyst was exceptionally stable in this “one-pot” process.


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