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CHAPTER 8

Microwaves in the Catalytic Valorisation of Biomass Derivatives

The application of microwave irradiation in the transformation of biomass has been receiving particular interest in recent years due to the use of polar media in such processes and it is now well-known that for biomass conversion, and particularly for lignocellulose hydrolysis, microwave irradiation can dramatically increase reaction rates with no negative consequences on product selectivity. However, it is only in the last ten years that the utilisation of microwaves has been coupled with catalysis aiming towards valorising biomass components or their derivatives via a range of reactions where high selectivity is required in addition to enhanced conversions. The reduced reaction times and superior yields are particularly attractive as they might facilitate the transition towards flow reactors and intensified production. As a consequence, several reports now describe the catalytic transformation of biomass derivatives via hydrogenation, oxidation, dehydration, esterification and transesterification using microwaves. Clearly, this technology has a huge potential for biomass conversion towards chemicals and fuels and will be an important tool within the biorefinery toolkit. The aim of this chapter is to give the reader an overview of the exciting scientific work carried out to date where microwave reactors and catalysis are combined in the transformation of biomass and its derivatives to higher value molecules and products.

Print publication date: 05 Jul 2018
Copyright year: 2018
Print ISBN: 978-1-78262-963-4
PDF eISBN: 978-1-78801-356-7
ePub eISBN: 978-1-78801-478-6
From the book series:
Green Chemistry Series