Conversion of furfuryl alcohol to ethyl levulinate using porous aluminosilicate acid catalysts

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Authors: Patrícia Neves, Sérgio Lima, Martyn Pillinger, Sílvia M. Rocha, João Rocha, Anabela A. Valente


The following porous aluminosilicates were tested as acid catalysts in the reaction of furfuryl alcohol (FA) with ethanol, at 140 °C: micro/mesoporous composite Beta/TUD-1 and the correspondent nanocrystalline (large pore) zeolite H-Beta; ITQ-2 and its zeolite counterpart (medium pore) H-MCM-22; mesoporous Al-TUD-1. The target product ethyl levulinate (EL) was formed with a yield up to 80%, at 24 h reaction (100% FA conversion). Relationships between the catalytic results and the acid and texture properties of the catalysts were established. Comparative studies for the aluminosilicates and the well-known sulfonic acid resin Amberlyst™-15 were reported on the basis of EL yields, the undesirable formation of diethyl ether, and catalyst stability (regeneration and reuse). A study of the reaction products was carried out by comprehensive two-dimensional gas chromatography combined with time-of-flight mass spectrometry.

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