Catalytic reduction of levulinic acid derivatives to bio-fuel components

Bacchiocchi, Riccardo (2023) Catalytic reduction of levulinic acid derivatives to bio-fuel components, [Dissertation thesis], Alma Mater Studiorum Università di Bologna. Dottorato di ricerca in Chimica, 35 Ciclo.
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Levulinic Acid and its esters are polyfunctional molecules obtained by biomass conversion. The most investigated strategy for the valorization of LA is its hydrogenation towards fuel additives, solvents and other added-value bio-based chemicals and, in this context, heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysts are widely used. Most commonly, it is typically performed with molecular hydrogen (H2) in batch systems, with high H2 pressures and noble metal catalysts. Several works reported the batch liquid-phase hydrogenation of LA and its esters by heterogenous catalysts which contained support with Brønsted acidity in order to obtain valeric acid and its esters. Furthermore, bimetallic and monometallic systems composed by both a metal for hydrogen activation and a promoter were demonstrated to be suitable catalysts for reduction of carboxylic group. However, there were no studies in the literature reporting the hydrogenation of alkyl levulinates to 1-pentanol (1-PAO). Therefore, bimetallic and monometallic catalysts were tested for one-pot hydrogenation of methyl levulinate to 1-PAO. Re-based catalysts were investigated, this way proving the crucial role of the support for promoting the ring-opening of GVL and its consecutive reduction to valeric compounds. All the reactions were performed in neat without the need of any additional solvents. In these conditions, bimetallic Re-Ru-O/HZSM-5 afforded methyl valerate and valeric acid (VA) with a productivity of 512 mmol gmetal-1 h-1, one of the highest reported in literature to date. Rhenium can also promote the reduction of valeric acid/esters to PV through the formation of 1-pentanol and its efficient esterification/transesterification with the starting material. However, it was proved that Re-based catalysts may undergo leaching of active phase in presence of carboxylic acids, especially by working in neat with VA. Furthermore, the over-reduction of rhenium affects catalytic performance, suggesting not only that a pre-reduction step is unnecessary but also that it could be detrimental for catalyst’s activity.

Tipologia del documento
Tesi di dottorato
Bacchiocchi, Riccardo
Dottorato di ricerca
Settore disciplinare
Settore concorsuale
Parole chiave
rhenium, methyl levulinate, 1-pentanol, pentyl valerate, catalysts, leaching
Data di discussione
6 Aprile 2023

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