Herein, one-pot conversion of cellulose to platform chemicals, formic and levulinic acids was demonstrated. The catalyst selected was an affordable, acidic ion-exchange resin, Amberlyst 70, whereas the cellulose used was sulfite cellulose delivered by a Swedish pulp mill. Furthermore, in an attempt to better understand the complex hydrolysis network of the polysaccharide, kinetic experiments were carried out to pinpoint the optimal reaction conditions with an initial substrate concentration of 0.7–6.0 wt% and a temperature range of 180–200 °C. Higher temperatures could not be used due to the limitations in the thermal stability of the catalyst. Overall, maximum theoretical yields of 59 and 68 mol% were obtained for formic and levulinic acid, respectively. The parameters allowing for the best performance were reaction temperature of 180 °C and initial cellulose concentration of 0.7 wt%. After studying the behavior of the system, a simplified reaction network in line with a mechanistic approach was developed and found to follow first order reaction kinetics. A satisfactory fit of the model to the experimental data was achieved (97.8 % degree of explanation). The catalyst chosen exhibited good mechanical strength under the experimental conditions and thus, a route providing green platform chemicals from soft wood pulp from coniferous trees (mixture of Scots Pine and Norway Spruce) was demonstrated.
|Journal||Reaction Kinetics, Mechanisms and Catalysis|
|Publication status||Published - 2016|
|MoE publication type||A1 Journal article-refereed|