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Issue 4, 2012
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Cu–ZrO2 nanocomposite catalyst for selective hydrogenation of levulinic acid and its ester to γ-valerolactone

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Abstract

Several copper based catalysts were prepared, characterized and evaluated for the hydrogenation of levulinic acid and its methyl ester. Among these, nanocomposites of Cu–ZrO2 and Cu–Al2O3 quantitatively catalyzed the hydrogenation of levulinic acid and its methyl ester to give 90–100% selectivity to γ-valerolactone in methanol and water respectively. Both the Cu–ZrO2 and Cu–Al2O3 nanocomposites were prepared by the co-precipitation method using mixed precursors under controlled conditions. XRD results showed that the main active phase of the reduced Cu–ZrO2 catalyst was metallic copper and particle size was found to be of 10–14 nm by HRTEM. The active metal leaching was at a maximum for the Cu–Al2O3 catalyst in a water medium due to the formation of a copper–carboxylate complex that was blue in colour. Surprisingly, copper leaching was completely suppressed in the case of the Cu–ZrO2 catalyst in methanol in spite of the substrate loading was increased from 5 to 20% w/w. The excellent recyclability of the Cu–ZrO2 catalyst with complete LA conversion and >90% GVL selectivity makes it a sustainable process having a commercial potential.

Graphical abstract: Cu–ZrO2 nanocomposite catalyst for selective hydrogenation of levulinic acid and its ester to γ-valerolactone

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Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
03 Dec 2011
Accepted
12 Jan 2012
First published
24 Feb 2012

Green Chem., 2012,14, 1064-1072
Article type
Paper

Cu–ZrO2 nanocomposite catalyst for selective hydrogenation of levulinic acid and its ester to γ-valerolactone

A. M. Hengne and C. V. Rode, Green Chem., 2012, 14, 1064
DOI: 10.1039/C2GC16558A

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