Small pore zeolites were evaluated as catalysts in the dehydration of xylose and biomass to furfural in a monophasic system of 90/10 γ-valerolactone (GVL)/water. Although the pore sizes were significantly smaller than the kinetic diameter of the sugars, furfural yields on the commercial SAPO-34 catalyst were 40% from xylose and 31% from switchgrass (considering total glucose and xylose moles). Furfural degradation with time was minimal. The SAPO-34 catalyst was recycled multiple times with only a 5% drop in furfural yield and no significant leaching of acid sites occurred. To our knowledge, this is the first time that real biomass has been converted with moderate yields to furfural using small pore zeolites.
- Small-pore zeolites
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Process Chemistry and Technology
- Physical and Theoretical Chemistry