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Catalysts 2017, 7(8), 235; doi:10.3390/catal7080235

Efficient Catalytic Upgrading of Levulinic Acid into Alkyl Levulinates by Resin-Supported Acids and Flow Reactors

Laboratory of Green Synthetic Organic Chemistry, Dipartimento di Chimica, Biologia e Biotecnologie, Università degli Studi di Perugia, via Elce di Sotto 8, 06132 Perugia, Italy
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Academic Editor: Giancarlo Cravotto
Received: 24 July 2017 / Revised: 7 August 2017 / Accepted: 9 August 2017 / Published: 15 August 2017
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Enabling Technologies toward Green Catalysis)
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Abstract

Biomass-derived levulinic acid (LA) is an excellent substrate to obtain high-value esters that can be used as second-generation biofuels and biofuel additives. The present study focuses on the identification and definition of the key parameters crucial for the development of chemically and environmentally efficient protocols operating in continuous-flow for the preparation of structurally diverse alkyl levulinates via the esterification of LA. We have focused on the use of solid acid catalysts consisting of sulfonated cation exchange resins and considered different aliphatic alcohols to prepare levulinates 3 and 11–17 regioselectively, and in good to high yields (50–92%). Direct correlations between several reaction parameters and catalyst activity have been investigated and discussed to set proper flow reactors that allow minimal waste production during the workup procedure, enabling Environmental factor (E-factor) values as low as ca. 0.3, full recoverability and reusability of the catalysts, and the production of levulinates up to ca. 5 gxh−1 scale. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomass; levulinic acid; biofuel additives; catalyst recyclability; heterogeneous catalysis; green chemistry; flow technology biomass; levulinic acid; biofuel additives; catalyst recyclability; heterogeneous catalysis; green chemistry; flow technology
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MDPI and ACS Style

Trombettoni, V.; Bianchi, L.; Zupanic, A.; Porciello, A.; Cuomo, M.; Piermatti, O.; Marrocchi, A.; Vaccaro, L. Efficient Catalytic Upgrading of Levulinic Acid into Alkyl Levulinates by Resin-Supported Acids and Flow Reactors. Catalysts 2017, 7, 235.

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