Special Issue "Catalytic Transformation of Lignocellulosic Platform Chemicals"

A special issue of Catalysts (ISSN 2073-4344).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 31 May 2018

Special Issue Editor

Guest Editor
Prof. Anna Maria Raspolli Galletti

Dipartimento di Chimica e Chimica Industriale, Università di Pisavia G. Moruzzi 13 - 56124 Pisa, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: catalysis for sustainability; MW-assisted chemistry; nanomaterials; catalytic conversion; lignocellulosic biomass; heterogeneous catalysts; synthesis of tailored catalytic system

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

Diminishing reserves of the easily-available petroleum resources and the environmental impact of fossil fuels are the driving forces in the search of alternative energy and new carbon sources. Undoubtedly, renewable lignocellulosic biomass represents a sustainable feedstock for the chemical industry, also offering the opportunity for potentially CO2-neutral products. Up to now, significant efforts have been devoted to the development of feasible routes for the conversion of biomass into valuable “primary” platformchemicals. In particular, furan compounds, such as furfural and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), and levulinic acid have great potential for the production of chemicals and fuels. Many “secondary” strategic products can be obtained by the catalytic conversion of these lignocellulosic platform chemicals using homogeneous, heterogeneous or enzymatic reactions of hydrogenation, oxidation, etherification, esterification,  ketalization,  hydrogen transfer, etc.

The aim of this Special Issue is

  • to cover the innovative results in the field of catalytic conversion applied to primary bio-based platform chemicals or directly starting from biomass in a multistep or in a one-pot approach to give secondary bio-based chemicals.
  • to deep the different catalytic reactions (homogeneous, heterogeneous and enzymatic as well as their combinations) using green reaction media (e.g., water, bioalcohols, ionic liquids, biphasic media, etc.);
  • to verify novel and combined process approaches, such as microwave irradiation, sonication, flow chemistry, microreactors, etc.

All suggestions and comments are really welcome!

Prof. Dr. Anna Maria Raspolli Galletti
Guest Editor

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Catalysts is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1300 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.


  • biomass conversion
  • green chemistry
  • homogeneous catalysis
  • heterogeneous catalysis
  • enzymatic catalysis
  • microwave irradiation
  • sonochemistry
  • levulinic acid
  • furfural
  • HMF

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Efficient Production of N-Butyl Levulinate Fuel Additive from Levulinic Acid Using Amorphous Carbon Enriched with Oxygenated Groups
Catalysts 2018, 8(1), 14; doi:10.3390/catal8010014
Received: 7 December 2017 / Revised: 3 January 2018 / Accepted: 5 January 2018 / Published: 9 January 2018
PDF Full-text (1452 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text | Supplementary Files
The aim of this study was to develop an effective carbonaceous solid acid for synthesizing green fuel additive through esterification of lignocellulose-derived levulinic acid (LA) and n-butanol. Two different sulfonated carbons were prepared from glucose-derived amorphous carbon (GC400) and commercial active carbon (AC400).
[...] Read more.
The aim of this study was to develop an effective carbonaceous solid acid for synthesizing green fuel additive through esterification of lignocellulose-derived levulinic acid (LA) and n-butanol. Two different sulfonated carbons were prepared from glucose-derived amorphous carbon (GC400) and commercial active carbon (AC400). They were contrastively studied by a series of characterizations (N2 adsorption, X-ray diffraction, elemental analysis, transmission electron microscopy, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy and NH3 temperature programmed desorption). The results indicated that GC400 possessed stronger acidity and higher –SO3H density than AC400, and the amorphous structure qualified GC400 for good swelling capacity in the reaction solution. Assessment experiments showed that GC400 displayed remarkably higher catalytic efficiency than AC400 and other typical solid acids (HZSM-5, Hβ, Amberlyst-15 and Nafion-212 resin). Up to 90.5% conversion of LA and 100% selectivity of n-butyl levulinate could be obtained on GC400 under the optimal reaction conditions. The sulfonated carbon retained 92% of its original catalytic activity even after five cycles. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catalytic Transformation of Lignocellulosic Platform Chemicals)

Planned Papers

The below list represents only planned manuscripts. Some of these manuscripts have not been received by the Editorial Office yet. Papers submitted to MDPI journals are subject to peer-review.

Title: A biorefinery cascade conversion of hemicelluloses-free Eucalyptus globulus wood: production of concentrated levulic acid solutions for γ-valerolactone sustainable preparation
Authors: Sandra Rivas 1,2, Anna Maria Raspolli Galletti 3,*, Claudia Antonetti 3, Domenico Licursi 3, Valentín Santos 1,2 and Juan Carlos Parajó 1,2,*
Affiliations: 1 Chemical Engineering Department, Polytechnical Building, University of Vigo (Campus Ourense), As Lagoas, 32004 Ourense, Spain;
2 CITI (Centro de Investigación, Transferencia e Innovación) – University of Vigo, Tecnopole, San Cibrao das Viñas, 32901 Ourense, Spain;
3  Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry, University of Pisa, Via Giuseppe Moruzzi 13, 56124, Pisa, Italy;
*  Correspondence: anna.maria.raspolli.galletti@unipi.it (Raspolli Galletti); jcparajovigo.es (Parajó)
Abstract: Eucalyptus globulus wood samples were subjected to a preliminary aqueous processing to remove water-soluble extractives and hemicelluloses and the resulting solid (mainly made up of cellulose and lignin) was employed as a substrate for converting the cellulosic fraction into mixtures of levulinic and formic acid through sulfuric acid-catalyzed reaction. These runs were carried out in a microwave-heated reactor at different temperatures and reaction times, operating in single batch or cross-flow modes, in order to identify the most favorable operational conditions. Selected liquid phases from the above experiments, characterized by a high levulinic acid concentration, up to 408 mmol/L, were then employed for γ-valerolactone production by LA hydrogenation in the presence of the commercial 5% Ru/C catalyst. In order to assess the effects of the main reaction parameters, hydrogenation experiments were performed at different temperatures, reaction times, amounts of Ru catalyst and hydrogen pressure. γ-valerolactone yields in the range 85-90 mol% were obtained in the hydrogenation of the wood-derived solutions containing levulinic acid obtained by single-batch operation or by cross-flow process. The negative effect of coproduced formic acid present in crude LA solutions was evidenced and counteracted by allowing the preliminary thermal decomposition of formic acid itself.

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