(125c) Reactive Surfaces for Cellulose Depolymerization
The depolymerization of cellulose to soluble glucans via hydrolysis can be a critical step for the transformation of biomass to chemicals and fuels. This is represented by the fact that many of the cost reductions for biomass converesions during the past several decades have been driven by pretreatment and cellulose depolymerization advances. Here, in this presentation, we describe results on the use of reactive surfaces as recyclable catalysts for cellulose depolymerization via acid-catalyzed hydrolysis. Pertinent data are reviewed and presented for the functionalized carbon materials as catalysts, as well as other systems. The focus of the presentation is a discussion on developing a better mechanistic understanding of essential catalyst structural features that impact the targeted depolymerization process. Model systems consisting of grafted glucans on the surface of inorganic oxide materials are used. Results using these systems help to understand the role of a surface as a macroscopic acid ligand, which can efficiently activate glycosidic bonds in chemisorbed glucans for hydrolysis.