Selective oxidation of lignocellulosic biomass to formic acid and high-grade cellulose using tailor-made polyoxometalate catalysts
The main goal of this project was to identify and optimize tailor-made polyoxometalate catalysts for a fractionated oxidation of lignocellulosic biomass (i.e. wood and residues from sugar or paper industries) to produce formic acid (FA) and high-grade cellulose for further processing e.g. in white biotechnology to provide bio-ethanol. Homogeneous vanadium precursors like sodium metavanadate and vanadyl sulfate as well as Keggin-type polyoxometalates (POMs) and more exotic structures like Anderson-, Wells-Dawson- and Lindqvist-type POMs were screened for the desired catalytic performance. The most promising behaviour was found using the Lindqvist-type POM K5V3W3O19, showing for the first time in the literature a selective oxidation of only hemicellulose and lignin to formic acid, while the cellulose fraction was untrapped. However, this can only be a first step towards the project goal as low product yields were obtained.
- This article is part of the themed collection: Bio-resources: feeding a sustainable chemical industry