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Conversion of (Ligno)Cellulose Feeds to Isosorbide with Heteropoly Acids and Ru on Carbon


Geboers,  Jan
Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, Kasteelpark Arenberg 23, 3001 Heverlee (Belgium);
Research Department Schüth, Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Max Planck Society;

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Op de Beeck, B., Geboers, J., Van de Vyver, S., Van Lishout, J., Snelders, J., Huijgen, W., et al. (2013). Conversion of (Ligno)Cellulose Feeds to Isosorbide with Heteropoly Acids and Ru on Carbon. ChemSusChem, 6(1), 199-208. doi:10.1002/cssc.201200610.

The catalytic valorization of cellulose is currently subject of intense research. Isosorbide is among the most interesting products that can be formed from cellulose as it is a potential platform molecule and can be used for the synthesis of a wide range of pharmaceuticals, chemicals, and polymers. A promising direct route from cellulose to isosorbide is presented in this work. The strategy relies on a one-pot bifunctional catalytic concept, combining heteropoly acids, viz. H4SiW12O40, and redox catalysts, viz. commercial Ru on carbon, under H2 pressure. Starting from pure microcrystalline cellulose, a rapid conversion was observed, resulting in over 50 % isosorbide yield. The robustness of the developed system is evidenced by the conversion of a range of impure cellulose pulps obtained by organosolv fractionation, with isosorbide yields up to 63 %. Results were compared with other (ligno)cellulose feedstocks, highlighting the importance of fractionation and purification to increase reactivity and convertibility of the cellulose feedstock.