(548f) A Highly Selective Route to Linear Alpha Olefins from Biologically-Derived Unsaturated Acids and Lactones

Hakim, S. H., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Alonso, D. M., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dumesic, J. A., University of Wisconsin-Madison

We will demonstrate a general catalytic strategy that produces a stream of highly pure (>99%) linear alpha olefin from biomass-derived lactones or unsaturated carboxylic acids. The process employs a single flow reactor and uses inexpensive, robust heterogeneous solid acid catalysts with no precious metal components, thus offering great potential as a practical approach for the production of key bulk chemicals and fuels from renewable resources, which is of great interest for sustainable chemistry. We will present results for linear alpha olefins with carbon chain length ranging from C4 – C10, with both odd and even carbon numbers.

The work to be presented will also provide a clear understanding and control of catalyst properties and product distribution, which will provide guidance for the synthesis of superior catalysts and further improvement in the yields of desired linear alpha olefin products. Finally, our finding that decarboxylation of lactones or unsaturated acids in the presence of water leads to high selectivity to linear alpha olefin represents an intriguing case where the high water content commonly encountered in biomass processing can be utilized to positively influence product selectivity.