Biomass valorization to chemicals, biofuels or materials will be more and more important during this century. Production of gamma-valerolactone (GVL) from the hydrogenation of levulinic acid is a good illustration of this tendency. GVL can also be produced from alkyl levulinates hydrogenation. Can we find a relationship between the structure and the kinetics of this reaction? Can we predict the kinetics of any alkyl levulinates by knowing the kinetics of another alkyl levulinate? This paper has studied these two questions by developing a kinetic model including the effect of gas-liquid mass transfer. We have demonstrated that the kinetics of hydrogenation of levulinic acid, methyl, ethyl and butyl levulinates to GVL using Ru/C follow the Taft equation, which is derived from Linear Free Energy Relationships. This equation measures the effects of polar and steric on a reaction series. We have demonstrated that polar effect of the reaction series is the most significant effect. This relationship can predict the values of kinetic constants just by knowing their structure.
- Levulinic acid and esters
- Linear Free Energy Relationships
- Taft equation