(574e) Lewis Acid Zeolite Catalysts for Tandem Diels-Alder Cycloaddition and Dehydration of Dimethylfuran and Ethylene to Renewable p-Xylene

Cho, H. J. - Presenter, University of Massachusetts
Chang, C. C., University of Massachusetts Amherst
Yu, J., University of Pennsylvania
Gorte, R. J., University of Pennsylvania
Dauenhauer, P., University of Minnesota
Fan, W., University of Massachusetts - Amherst
Recently, increasing demand for energy and commodity chemicals has led to accelerated research efforts in the conversion of renewable resource into chemicals and fuels for a sustainable economy. The processing of lignocellulosic biomass, an inexpensive, abundant and sustainable source of carbon, offers the promise of sustainable chemicals and carbon-neutral liquid transportation fuels. Lewis acid catalysts play an important role for selectively activating functional groups of the organic molecules involved in biomass conversion.

In this study,1 Lewis acid zeolites including Zr-, Sn-, and Ti-BEA were examined for tandem [4 + 2] Dielsâ??Alder cycloaddition of 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF) and ethylene to form cycloadduct, which is further dehydrated to produce biorenewable p-xylene. p-Xylene is currently produced from petroleum processing, which serves as a precursor for polyethylene terephthalate (PET) polymers (e.g. PET bottle). Zr-BEA (Si/Zr = 168) offered superior performance with improved recalcitrance to deactivation, because of its low activity for the DMF oligomerization.2 Zr-BEA also achieved the highest selectivity to p-xylene of 80% at 99% conversion of DMF. In the case of low catalyst loading, the reaction rate of p-xylene production was linearly proportional to the number of Lewis acid sites, whereas high catalyst loading was independent of Lewis acid sites. These findings were similar to the behaviors of Brønsted acid zeolite catalysts.


  1. C.-C. Chang, H. J. Cho, J. Yu, R. J. Gorte, J. Gulbinski, P. Dauenhauer and W. Fan, Green Chem., 2016, 18, 1368

  2. J. Yu, S. Zhu, P. Dauenhauer, H. J. Cho, W. Fan and R. J. Gorte, Catal. Sci. Technol., 2016, DOI: 10.1039/C6CY00501B