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Issue 11, 2016
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Selective aldol condensation of biomass-derived levulinic acid and furfural in aqueous-phase over MgO and ZnO

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Abstract

The aldol condensation of furfural with levulinic acid in the aqueous phase was investigated over a series of solid catalysts, including oxides (MgO, ZnO, TiO2, ZrO2, MgO–Al2O3, CeO2, Nb2O5, SnO2, and WO3) and acidic zeolites (HY, Hβ, HZSM-5, H-MOR, and SAPO-34). Two isomeric condensation products, β- and δ-furfurylidenelevulinic acids (β- and δ-FDLA), were produced after acidification. MgO and ZnO were evaluated as active and selective catalysts with respect to aqueous phase aldol condensation. MgO gave a high selectivity towards δ-FDLA due to the water-tolerant basicity. In contrast, ZnO was highly selective towards β-FDLA, indicative of an acid-catalyzed aldol reaction mechanism. Nano-ZnO with a relatively high surface area gave rise to enhanced yields of β-FDLA. In-depth investigations revealed that the exposed surface hydroxyl groups on ZnO worked as active sites for the aldol reaction.

Graphical abstract: Selective aldol condensation of biomass-derived levulinic acid and furfural in aqueous-phase over MgO and ZnO

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
13 Jan 2016
Accepted
08 Mar 2016
First published
08 Mar 2016

Green Chem., 2016,18, 3430-3438
Article type
Paper

Selective aldol condensation of biomass-derived levulinic acid and furfural in aqueous-phase over MgO and ZnO

G. Liang, A. Wang, X. Zhao, N. Lei and T. Zhang, Green Chem., 2016, 18, 3430
DOI: 10.1039/C6GC00118A

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