271540 Conversion of HMF and Furfuryl Alcohol to Levulinic Acid Using a Hierarchical Material As Catalyst

Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Hall B (Convention Center )
Christian G. Rivera-Goyco, Chemical Engineering, University of Puerto Rico-Mayaguez Campus, Mayaguez, PR

Conversion of HMF and Furfuryl Alcohol to Levulinic Acid using a Hierarchical Material as Catalyst

Rivera-Goyco, C.; Cardona-Martínez, N.

Chemical Engineering Department

University of Puerto Rico – Mayagüez Campus; Mayagüez, PR

Keywords: 5-hydroxymethylfurfural, furfuryl alcohol, hierarchical materials,  

levulinic acid, surface acidity, ZSM-5

Levulinic acid (LA) is an intermediate chemical that is used for the synthesis of polymers, bio-fuels and other value added chemicals that may substitute similar materials derived from petroleum. LA is produced by the hydrolysis reaction of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) or furfuryl alcohol (FA). Both of these reactions are catalyzed by strong acids. These reactions follow two parallel reaction mechanisms: one of the mechanisms follows the production of undesired humins and, for the other mechanism, the products are LA and formic acid. Therefore, an efficient process in which LA selectivity is enhanced is desired. This could be achieved by the hydrolysis of HMF or FA at low concentrations. But the mentioned method is not economically viable because of high separation costs. A possible solution for this problem is the synthesis of a hierarchical material that possesses micro and meso pores and high internal surface acidity. As a possible candidate for the desired catalyst, a hierarchical material that consists of a ZSM-5 core and mesoporous silica shell is being synthesized. Characterization of the material is being performed using Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM), Nitrogen Adsorption - Desorption Isotherms, Thermal Gravimetric Analysis (TGA), X-Ray Diffraction (XRD), Dynamic Light Scattering (DLS) and solid Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR). Results to date indicate that the synthesized silica shell material has the desired spherical morphology, an ordered range of mesopores, and an internal cavity in which ZSM-5 nanospheres may be encapsulated. ZSM-5 nanospheres have also been synthesized with the desired structure and textural properties. We will present preliminary results of the catalytic performance for the conversion of HMF and FA to LA catalyzed by the synthesized ZSM-5 and the ZSM-5 core-Silica Shell material.


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