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Heterogeneous Catalysts for Biomass Conversion and Environmental Remediation

A special issue of Materials (ISSN 1996-1944). This special issue belongs to the section "Catalytic Materials".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 20 December 2024 | Viewed by 10133

Special Issue Editors


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Guest Editor
Institute for the Study of Nanostructured Materials (ISMN)—Italian National Research Council (CNR), Via Ugo La Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo, Italy
Interests: sustainable heterogeneous catalysis applied in the conversion of biomass; sustainable functionalization procedures; synthesis of metal nanoparticles; use of waste for the synthesis and production of new materials; biofuel production; added-value products; circular chemistry; process efficiency; microwave-assisted reactions; hybrid materials for wastewater purification; waste-derived antimicrobial materials; supramolecular systems for nanocatalysts
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

E-Mail Website
Guest Editor
Institute for the Study of Nanostructured Materials (ISMN)—Italian National Research Council (CNR), via Ugo la Malfa 153, 90146 Palermo, Italy
Interests: biofuels; platform molecules; hybrid catalysts; interesterification; fischer-tropsch; biomass to chemicals conversion; microwave assisted synthesis
Special Issues, Collections and Topics in MDPI journals

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

In the last few years, we have been experiencing the effects of climate change firsthand. The negative impacts of fossil fuels and absence of a greenhouse gas mitigation agreement in COP27 mean that more effort is required from the scientific community to preserve the environment. In this context, biomass as a renewable feedstock has been gaining importance to meet the global need for fuels and chemicals but reducing pollution and greenhouse gas. Studies on heterogeneous catalysts for sustainable production processes and environmental depollution are in dynamic growth. Several types of heterogeneous catalysts (hybrid materials, supported metal oxides, perovskites, zeolites, hierarchical porous materials, etc.) have been developed and applied in different fields, such as clean energy production, biomass valorization, wastewater treatment, and air depollution.

This Special Issue will collect quality papers about the synthesis and application of materials for Biomass Conversion and Environmental Remediation.

The collected articles will emphasize the surface and structural properties of heterogeneous catalysts, highlighting their applicability in fields of biomass and environmental preservation. Studies concerning sustainable synthetic processes, material characterization, and reaction mechanisms are of interest.

We are pleased to invite you to submit manuscripts for this Special Issue on “Heterogeneous Catalysts for Biomass Conversion and Environmental Remediation”, in the form of research papers, communications, and review articles. We look forward to your participation in this Special Issue of Materials.

Dr. Maria Luisa Testa
Dr. Marco Russo
Guest Editors

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 submissions that pass pre-check are 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. Materials is an international peer-reviewed open access semimonthly 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 2600 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.

Keywords

  • environmental remediation
  • biomass
  • heterogeneous catalysts
  • green chemistry
  • sustainable procedures
  • circular chemistry

Published Papers (6 papers)

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Research

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19 pages, 4414 KiB  
Article
Composite RGO/Ag/Nanosponge Materials for the Photodegradation of Emerging Pollutants from Wastewaters
by Ettore Madonia, Antonella Di Vincenzo, Alberto Pettignano, Roberto Scaffaro, Emmanuel Fortunato Gulino, Pellegrino Conte and Paolo Lo Meo
Materials 2024, 17(10), 2319; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma17102319 - 14 May 2024
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 2909
Abstract
Some composite materials have been prepared, constituted by a cyclodextrin-bis-urethane-based nanosponge matrix in which a reduced graphene oxide/silver nanoparticles photocatalyst has been dispersed. Different chain extenders were employed for designing the nanosponge supports, in such a way as to decorate their [...] Read more.
Some composite materials have been prepared, constituted by a cyclodextrin-bis-urethane-based nanosponge matrix in which a reduced graphene oxide/silver nanoparticles photocatalyst has been dispersed. Different chain extenders were employed for designing the nanosponge supports, in such a way as to decorate their hyper-cross-linked structure with diverse functionalities. Moreover, two different strategies were explored to accomplish the silver loading. The obtained systems were successfully tested as catalysts for the photodegradation of emerging pollutants such as model dyes and drugs. Enhancement of the photoactive species performance (up to nine times), due to the synergistic local concentration effect exerted by the nanosponge, could be assessed. Overall, the best performances were shown by polyamine-decorated materials, which were able to promote the degradation of some particularly resistant drugs. Some methodological issues pertaining to data collection are also addressed. Full article
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12 pages, 7966 KiB  
Article
MOF-808 as an Efficient Catalyst for Valorization of Biodiesel Waste Production: Glycerol Acetalization
by Fátima Mirante, Pedro Leo, Catarina N. Dias, Luís Cunha-Silva and Salete S. Balula
Materials 2023, 16(21), 7023; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16217023 - 3 Nov 2023
Cited by 4 | Viewed by 1539
Abstract
Glycerol is the main residue in the biodiesel production industry; therefore, their valorization is crucial. The acetalization of glycerol toward fuel additives such as solketal (2,2-dimethyl-1,3-dioxolan-4-methanol) is of high interest, promoting circular economy since it can be added to biodiesel or even fossil [...] Read more.
Glycerol is the main residue in the biodiesel production industry; therefore, their valorization is crucial. The acetalization of glycerol toward fuel additives such as solketal (2,2-dimethyl-1,3-dioxolan-4-methanol) is of high interest, promoting circular economy since it can be added to biodiesel or even fossil diesel to improve their quality and efficiency. Straightforward-prepared metal–organic framework (MOF) materials of the MOF-808 family were applied to the valorization of glycerol for the first time. In particular, MOF-808(Hf) was revealed to be an effective heterogeneous catalyst to produce solketal under moderate conditions: a small amount of the MOF material (only 4 wt% of glycerol), a 1:6 ratio of glycerol/acetone, and a temperature of 333 K. The high efficiency of MOF-808(Hf) was associated with the high amount of acid centers present in its structure. Furthermore, its structural characteristics, such as window opening cavity size and pore diameters, were shown to be ideal for reusing this material for at least ten consecutive reaction cycles without losing activity (conversion > 90% and selectivity > 98%). Remarkably, it was not necessary to wash or activate the MOF-808(Hf) catalyst between cycles (no pore blockage occurred), and it maintained structural integrity after ten cycles, confirming its ability to be a sustainable heterogeneous catalyst for glycerol valorization. Full article
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21 pages, 5849 KiB  
Article
Interesterification of Glyceryl Trioctanoate Catalyzed by Sulfonic Silica-Based Materials: Insight into the Role of Catalysts on the Reaction Mechanism
by Maria Luisa Testa, Maria Laura Tummino, Anna Maria Venezia and Marco Russo
Materials 2023, 16(14), 5121; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16145121 - 20 Jul 2023
Cited by 1 | Viewed by 1191
Abstract
In the present work, the acid-catalyzed interesterification of glyceryl trioctanoate (GTO) with ethyl acetate was investigated as a model reaction for the one-step production of biofuel and its additives. The activity of heterogeneous acid catalysts, such as silica-based propyl-sulfonic ones, was evaluated. Propyl-sulfonic [...] Read more.
In the present work, the acid-catalyzed interesterification of glyceryl trioctanoate (GTO) with ethyl acetate was investigated as a model reaction for the one-step production of biofuel and its additives. The activity of heterogeneous acid catalysts, such as silica-based propyl-sulfonic ones, was evaluated. Propyl-sulfonic groups were grafted on both amorphous and mesoporous silica oxide (SBA-15, KIT-6) using different functionalization processes and characterized by N2 adsorpion–desorption isotherm (BET), thermogravimetric analysis (TGA), scanning electron microscopy (SEM), attenuated total reflectance–Fourier transform infrared (ATR-FTIR) spectroscopy, and potentiometric titration. During the optimization of the reaction conditions with the most active catalyst (Am-Pr-SO3H), it was shown that the addition of ethanol allowed a total conversion of GTO together with 89% and 56% yield of ethyl octanoate and triacetin, respectively. The catalytic performance is strictly correlated to the catalyst features, in terms of both the acid capacity and the porous structure. Moreover, the catalytic performance is also affected by a synergistic mechanism between silanols and Pr-SO3H groups towards the ‘silanolysis’ of ethyl acetate. The overall results show that the presence of ethanol, the reaction time, and the amount of catalyst shifts the reaction towards the formation of the biofuel mixture composed by ethyl octanoate and triacetin. Full article
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12 pages, 3424 KiB  
Article
Kinetic and Thermodynamic Study of Methylene Blue Adsorption on TiO2 and ZnO Thin Films
by William Vallejo, Carlos Enrique Diaz-Uribe and Freider Duran
Materials 2023, 16(12), 4434; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16124434 - 16 Jun 2023
Cited by 3 | Viewed by 1385
Abstract
In this work, we fabricated and characterized ZnO and TiO2 thin films, determining their structural, optical, and morphological properties. Furthermore, we studied the thermodynamics and kinetics of methylene blue (MB) adsorption onto both semiconductors. Characterization techniques were used to verify thin film [...] Read more.
In this work, we fabricated and characterized ZnO and TiO2 thin films, determining their structural, optical, and morphological properties. Furthermore, we studied the thermodynamics and kinetics of methylene blue (MB) adsorption onto both semiconductors. Characterization techniques were used to verify thin film deposition. The semiconductor oxides reached different removal values, 6.5 mg/g (ZnO) and 10.5 mg/g (TiO2), after 50 min of contact. The pseudo-second-order model was suitable for fitting the adsorption data. ZnO had a greater rate constant (45.4 × 10−3) than that of TiO2 (16.8 × 10−3). The removal of MB by adsorption onto both semiconductors was an endothermic and spontaneous process. Finally, the stability of the thin films showed that both semiconductors maintained their adsorption capacity after five consecutive removal tests. Full article
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14 pages, 2420 KiB  
Article
Construction of Bio-TiO2/Algae Complex and Synergetic Mechanism of the Acceleration of Phenol Biodegradation
by Jinxin Guo, Xiaoman Guo, Haiyan Yang, Daohong Zhang and Xiaogeng Jiang
Materials 2023, 16(10), 3882; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16103882 - 22 May 2023
Cited by 2 | Viewed by 1273
Abstract
Microalgae have been widely employed in water pollution treatment since they are eco-friendly and economical. However, the relatively slow treatment rate and low toxic tolerance have seriously limited their utilization in numerous conditions. In light of the problems above, a novel biosynthetic titanium [...] Read more.
Microalgae have been widely employed in water pollution treatment since they are eco-friendly and economical. However, the relatively slow treatment rate and low toxic tolerance have seriously limited their utilization in numerous conditions. In light of the problems above, a novel biosynthetic titanium dioxide (bio-TiO2 NPs)—microalgae synergetic system (Bio-TiO2/Algae complex) has been established and adopted for phenol degradation in the study. The great biocompatibility of bio-TiO2 NPs ensured the collaboration with microalgae, improving the phenol degradation rate by 2.27 times compared to that with single microalgae. Remarkably, this system increased the toxicity tolerance of microalgae, represented as promoted extracellular polymeric substances EPS secretion (5.79 times than single algae), and significantly reduced the levels of malondialdehyde and superoxide dismutase. The boosted phenol biodegradation with Bio-TiO2/Algae complex may be attributed to the synergetic interaction of bio-TiO2 NPs and microalgae, which led to the decreased bandgap, suppressed recombination rate, and accelerated electron transfer (showed as low electron transfer resistance, larger capacitance, and higher exchange current density), resulting in increased light energy utilization rate and photocatalytic rate. The results of the work provide a new understanding of the low-carbon treatment of toxic organic wastewater and lay a foundation for further remediation application. Full article
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Review

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30 pages, 6533 KiB  
Review
Supported Gold Catalysts for Base-Free Furfural Oxidation: The State of the Art and Machine-Learning-Enabled Optimization
by Joëlle Thuriot-Roukos, Camila Palombo Ferraz, Hisham K. Al Rawas, Svetlana Heyte, Sébastien Paul, Ivaldo Itabaiana Jr, Mariusz Pietrowski, Michal Zieliński, Mohammed N. Ghazzal, Franck Dumeignil and Robert Wojcieszak
Materials 2023, 16(19), 6357; https://doi.org/10.3390/ma16196357 - 22 Sep 2023
Viewed by 1169
Abstract
Supported gold nanoparticles have proven to be highly effective catalysts for the base-free oxidation of furfural, a compound derived from biomass. Their small size enables a high surface-area-to-volume ratio, providing abundant active sites for the reaction to take place. These gold nanoparticles serve [...] Read more.
Supported gold nanoparticles have proven to be highly effective catalysts for the base-free oxidation of furfural, a compound derived from biomass. Their small size enables a high surface-area-to-volume ratio, providing abundant active sites for the reaction to take place. These gold nanoparticles serve as catalysts by providing surfaces for furfural molecules to adsorb onto and facilitating electron transfer between the substrate and the oxidizing agent. The role of the support in this reaction has been widely studied, and gold–support interactions have been found to be beneficial. However, the exact mechanism of furfural oxidation under base-free conditions remains an active area of research and is not yet fully understood. In this review, we delve into the essential factors that influence the selectivity of furfural oxidation. We present an optimization process that highlights the significant role of machine learning in identifying the best catalyst for this reaction. The principal objective of this study is to provide a comprehensive review of research conducted over the past five years concerning the catalytic oxidation of furfural under base-free conditions. By conducting tree decision making on experimental data from recent articles, a total of 93 gold-based catalysts are compared. The relative variable importance chart analysis reveals that the support preparation method and the pH of the solution are the most crucial factors determining the yield of furoic acid in this oxidation process. Full article
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