Mesoporous ZSM-5 prepared by alkaline treatment was demonstrated as an efficient catalyst for the cellulose hydrolysis in ionic liquid (IL), affording a high yield of reducing sugar. It was demonstrated that mesoporous ZSM-5 (SiO2
= 38) had 76.2% cellulose conversion and 49.6% yield of total reducing sugar (TRS). In comparison, the conventional ZSM-5 had a mere 41.3% cellulose conversion with 33.2% yield of TRS. The results indicated that the important role of mesopores in zeolites in elevating the TRS yield may be due to the diffusional alleviation of cellulose macromolecules. The effects of reaction time, temperature, and the ratio of catalyst to cellulose were investigated for optimal reaction conditions. It was found that IL could enter the inner channel of mesoporous ZSM-5 to promote the generation of H+
from Brönsted acid sites, which facilitated hydrolysis. Moreover, the mesoporous ZSM-5 showed excellent reusability for catalytic cycles by means of calcination of the used one, promising for its practical applications in the hydrolysis of cellulose.
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