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Catalyzing Cascade Production of Methyl Levulinate from Polysaccharides Using Heteropolyacids HnPW11MO39 with Brønsted/Lewis Acidic Sites

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journal contribution
posted on 31.10.2017, 00:00 by Xueyan Zhang, Yue Li, Lifang Xue, Shengtian Wang, Xiaohong Wang, Zijiang Jiang
A series of Lewis acid metals monosubstituted phosphotungstic acids HnPW11MO39 (HPWM, M = CuII, ZnII, CrIII, FeIII, SnIV, TiIV, and ZrIV; for Ti and Zr, the number of oxygen is 40) was evaluated in direct production of methyl levulinate (ML) from cellulosic biomass in a cascade reaction. One of the solid catalysts, H5PW11TiO40 (HPWTi), was found to be highly efficient for generation of ML from mono- or polysaccharides, reaching 51.3% ML yield directly from cellulose. And under microwave-assistance, the efficiency could be improved to a 62.6% ML yield within 2 h, which was almost the best result so far among reported solid catalysts. Identification of the reaction intermediates and the products provided some insight into the reaction mechanism and showed the requirement of certain Brønsted/Lewis acid ratio as 2.84/1 for HPWM. Moreover, the different metals in catalysts profoundly affected the Lewis or total acidity, and therefore, the catalytic activity and selectivity to ML or methyl glucosides (MG). HPWTi acted as a heterogeneous catalyst after being calcinated at 200 °C and showed high recyclability with minor loss of performance.

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