Issue 41, 2019, Issue in Progress

Two-step catalytic conversion of lignocellulose to alkanes


Direct conversion of lignocellulose to alkanes is challenged by the complex and recalcitrant nature of the starting material. Generally, alkanes are obtained from one of the main lignocellulose constituents (cellulose, hemicellulose or lignin) after their separation, and platform chemicals derived therein. Here we describe a two-step methodology, which uses unprocessed lignocellulose directly, targeting a mixture of alkanes. The first step involves the near-complete conversion of lignocellulose to alcohols, using a copper doped porous metal oxide (Cu-PMO) catalyst in supercritical methanol. The second step comprises a novel solvent exchange procedure and the exhaustive hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) of the complex mixture of aliphatic alcohols, obtained upon depolymerization, to C2–C10 alkanes by either HZSM-5 or Nafion at 180 °C in conjunction with Pd/C in dodecane. This describes an unprecedented two-step process from lignocellulose to hydrocarbons, with an overall carbon yield of 50%.

Graphical abstract: Two-step catalytic conversion of lignocellulose to alkanes

Supplementary files

Article information

Article type
28 Apr 2019
10 Jul 2019
First published
30 Jul 2019
This article is Open Access
Creative Commons BY license

RSC Adv., 2019,9, 23727-23734

Two-step catalytic conversion of lignocellulose to alkanes

Z. Sun, D. Buwalda and K. Barta, RSC Adv., 2019, 9, 23727 DOI: 10.1039/C9RA03174J

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