Synthesis of Ni/mesoporous ZSM-5 for direct catalytic conversion of cellulose to hexitols: modulating the pore structure and acidic sites via a nanocrystalline cellulose template
Efficient utilization of cellulose is of scientific significance and a great challenge for both fundamental and industrial studies. Herein, we synthesized MesoZSM-5 zeolites by using nanocrystalline cellulose as a template for the first time, and reported the exciting performance of the corresponding non-noble metal catalysts (Ni/MesoZSM-5) for efficient conversion of cellulose to hexitols. By modulating the ratio of the template to precursor, MesoZSM-5 supports were produced with tunable pore structure and acidic sites. With the cooperation of active Ni sites and acidic sites of MesoZSM-5, hexitols were obtained with a high yield of around 60% in the direct conversion of commercial microcrystalline cellulose (MCC). The corresponding correlation between the structural characteristics and catalytic performance was established. This work provides a new approach for efficient utilization of cellulose, as well as gives rise to a sustainable templating method for the synthesis of mesoporous zeolites.