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Open AccessFeature PaperArticle

Stable Continuous Production of γ-Valerolactone from Biomass-Derived Levulinic Acid over Zr–Al-Beta Zeolite Catalyst

1
Chemical and Environmental Engineering Group, Escuela Superior de Ciencias Experimentales y Tecnología (ESCET), Universidad Rey Juan Carlos, C/Tulipán s/n, Móstoles, E28933 Madrid, Spain
2
Energy and Sustainable Chemistry (EQS) Group, Institute of Catalysis and Petrochemistry, CSIC, Marie Curie 2, Campus de Cantoblanco, 28049 Madrid, Spain
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Catalysts 2020, 10(6), 678; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10060678
Received: 20 May 2020 / Revised: 12 June 2020 / Accepted: 15 June 2020 / Published: 17 June 2020
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Multifunctional Heterogeneous Catalysis)
The one-pot conversion of biomass-derived platform molecules such as levulinic acid (LA) and furfural (FAL) into γ-valerolactone (GVL) is challenging because of the need for adequate multi-functional catalysts and high-pressure gaseous hydrogen. As a more sustainable alternative, here we describe the transfer hydrogenation of LA to GVL using isopropanol as a hydrogen donor over a Zr-modified beta zeolite catalyst in a continuous fixed-bed reactor. A stable sustained production of GVL was achieved from the levulinic acid, with both high LA conversion (ca. 95%) and GVL yield (ca. 90%), for over at least 20 days in continuous operation at 170 °C. Importantly, the small decay in activity can be advantageously overcome by the means of a simple in situ thermal regeneration in the air atmosphere, leading to a complete recovery of the catalyst activity. Key to this outstanding result is the use of a Zr-modified dealuminated beta zeolite with a tailored Lewis/Brønsted acid sites ratio, which can synergistically catalyze the tandem steps of hydrogen transfer and acid-catalyzed transformations, leading to such a successful and stable production of GVL from LA. View Full-Text
Keywords: biomass valorization; levulinic acid; γ-valerolactone (GVL); zirconium; beta zeolite; fixed bed; continuous flow biomass valorization; levulinic acid; γ-valerolactone (GVL); zirconium; beta zeolite; fixed bed; continuous flow
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MDPI and ACS Style

López-Aguado, C.; Paniagua, M.; Melero, J.A.; Iglesias, J.; Juárez, P.; López Granados, M.; Morales, G. Stable Continuous Production of γ-Valerolactone from Biomass-Derived Levulinic Acid over Zr–Al-Beta Zeolite Catalyst. Catalysts 2020, 10, 678. https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10060678

AMA Style

López-Aguado C, Paniagua M, Melero JA, Iglesias J, Juárez P, López Granados M, Morales G. Stable Continuous Production of γ-Valerolactone from Biomass-Derived Levulinic Acid over Zr–Al-Beta Zeolite Catalyst. Catalysts. 2020; 10(6):678. https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10060678

Chicago/Turabian Style

López-Aguado, Clara; Paniagua, Marta; Melero, Juan A.; Iglesias, Jose; Juárez, Pablo; López Granados, Manuel; Morales, Gabriel. 2020. "Stable Continuous Production of γ-Valerolactone from Biomass-Derived Levulinic Acid over Zr–Al-Beta Zeolite Catalyst" Catalysts 10, no. 6: 678. https://doi.org/10.3390/catal10060678

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