Cellulose Depolymerization over Heterogeneous Catalysts

We reported the hydrolysis of cellulose to glucose using carbon catalyst containing weakly acidic functional groups

Abhijit Shrotri; Hirokazu Kobayashi; Atsushi Fukuoka


Scholarcy highlights

  • Cellulose is a naturally occurring polymer found in the structural matrix of lignocellulose in plants
  • Porous carbon materials have shown remarkable ability to perform as catalyst and catalyst support for cellulose conversion
  • The adsorption of cellulose molecules on carbon prevents hydrogen bond formation among the molecules, which sterically hinders the conformational change required for hydrolysis
  • Using mainly carbon based heterogeneous catalysts, we have developed catalytic processes for hydrolysis and hydrolytic hydrogenation of cellulose to glucose and sorbitol, both highly valuable products for chemical industry
  • Hydrolysis of cellulose with carbon catalyst containing weakly acidic oxygenated functional groups eliminates the cost associated with use of mineral acids
  • The reducing environment of the reaction prevents byproduct formation, and harsh reaction conditions can be used to achieve sorbitol yield of up to 90%
  • Fractionation of lignocellulose and pretreatment of cellulose are the most cost intensive steps in this process, and these issues must be overcome for the success of cellulose conversion technologies

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