Electro-hydrogenation of biomass-derived levulinic acid to γ-valerolactone via the magnetic heating of a Ru nanocatalyst†
The magnetically heated hydrotreatment of levulinic acid, furfural and hydroxymethylfurfural over a composite Ru-based nanocatalyst in a batch reactor was investigated. The nanocatalyst's dual role as a heating agent and catalytically active material was demonstrated. The in-depth analysis and modelling of the hydrogenation and deoxygenation processes showed that the surface of the nanocatalyst reaches a higher temperature (137 °C) than the bulk of the medium (85 °C), resulting in an increased rate of conversion for isopropyl levulinate (formed in a competing reaction) to γ-valerolactone and thus increasing the yield under mild conditions. The nanocatalyst remained stable and active (100% yield of GVL), even when recycled four times.