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Open AccessArticle

Cascade Strategy for the Tunable Catalytic Valorization of Levulinic Acid and γ-Valerolactone to 2-Methyltetrahydrofuran and Alcohols

Department of Chemistry and Industrial Chemistry, University of Pisa, Via Giuseppe Moruzzi 13, 56124 Pisa, Italy
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Catalysts 2018, 8(7), 277; https://doi.org/10.3390/catal8070277
Received: 6 June 2018 / Revised: 3 July 2018 / Accepted: 5 July 2018 / Published: 9 July 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Catalytic Transformation of Lignocellulosic Platform Chemicals)
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Abstract

A cascade strategy for the catalytic valorization of aqueous solutions of levulinic acid as well as of γ-valerolactone to 2-methyltetrahydrofuran or to monoalcohols, 2-butanol and 2-pentanol, has been studied and optimized. Only commercial catalytic systems have been employed, adopting sustainable reaction conditions. For the first time, the combined use of ruthenium and rhenium catalysts supported on carbon, with niobium phosphate as acid co-catalyst, has been claimed for the hydrogenation of γ-valerolactone and levulinic acid, addressing the selectivity to 2-methyltetrahydrofuran. On the other hand, the use of zeolite HY with commercial Ru/C catalyst favors the selective production of 2-butanol, starting again from γ-valerolactone and levulinic acid, with selectivities up to 80 and 70 mol %, respectively. Both levulinic acid and γ-valerolactone hydrogenation reactions have been optimized, investigating the effect of the main reaction parameters, to properly tune the catalytic performances towards the desired products. The proper choice of both the catalytic system and the reaction conditions can smartly switch the process towards the selective production of 2-methyltetrahydrofuran or monoalcohols. The catalytic system [Ru/C + zeolite HY] at 200 °C and 3 MPa H2 is able to completely convert both γ-valerolactone and levulinic acid, with overall yields to monoalcohols of 100 mol % and 88.8 mol %, respectively. View Full-Text
Keywords: levulinic acid; γ-valerolactone; 2-methyltetrahydrofuran; 2-butanol; 2-pentanol; hydrogenation; ruthenium; rhenium; niobium phosphate levulinic acid; γ-valerolactone; 2-methyltetrahydrofuran; 2-butanol; 2-pentanol; hydrogenation; ruthenium; rhenium; niobium phosphate
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Licursi, D.; Antonetti, C.; Fulignati, S.; Giannoni, M.; Raspolli Galletti, A.M. Cascade Strategy for the Tunable Catalytic Valorization of Levulinic Acid and γ-Valerolactone to 2-Methyltetrahydrofuran and Alcohols. Catalysts 2018, 8, 277.

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