New Catalyst Selectively Converts Biomass Derived Sugars to Chemicals

July 14, 2010 :: Engineers at the California Institute of Technology, part of the Catalysis Center for Energy Innovation (a DOE Energy Frontier Research Center led by the University of Delaware) have developed a novel Tin-Beta zeolite catalyst that efficiently converts biomass derived sugars. The isomerization of glucose to fructose, an intermediate step in the production of biofuels, has been a difficult and important barrier to biomass utilization. Tin-Beta zeolites offer significant advantages over traditional enzyme catalysts: increased thermal stability, tolerance to impurities that harm enzyme activity, and compatibility with harsh environments, such as acidic solutions. By coupling a dehydration reaction to the isomerization in a hydrochloric acid solution, for instance, glucose was converted directly to an important chemical intermediate [5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF)] in high yields, proving that Tin-Beta is an attractive catalyst for one-pot biomass conversion processes. The results are described in PNAS.

Conversion of glucose to fructose

Reference: Moliner, M.; Román-Leshkov, Y.; and Davis, M. E., “Tin-containing zeolites are highly active catalysts for the isomerization of glucose in water”, Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, 107, 6164 (2010) [DOI:10.1073/pnas.1002358107External link].
Last modified: 3/27/2013 12:23:20 PM