(350g) Structured Solvents for Catalytic Conversion of Cellulose to Bio-Chemicals
The conversion of solid cellulose as a biomass feedstock to bio-chemicals in high yield to a specific product involves multiple consecutive steps in a solvent, including cellulose dissolution, cellulose depolymerization, and direct or indirect glucose transformations to an end product. Because of the uniquely high solubility of certain ionic liquids for cellulosic biomass, ionic liquids have been widely studied as solvents, in which catalysts are added to enable a sequence of catalytic reactions starting from cellulose. However, similar to the conversion of carbohydrates in aqueous systems, the end products are typically recovered from the solvents by extraction with another solvent of low polarity. To minimize the end product degradation during the process of carbohydrate conversion, biphasic reaction systems have been used to separate and to protect the product in an organic solvent phase. In this work, structured solvent systems have been designed and used to efficiently convert cellulose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural. Such a system takes the advantage known to the biphasic systems, but with largely increased interface areas.