(132a) Renewable Isoprene By Sequential Hydrogenation of Itaconic Acid and Dehydra-Decyclization of 3-Methyl-Tetrahydrofuran

Authors: 
Abdelrahman, O. A., University of Minnesota
Vinter, K. P., University of Minnesota
Dauenhauer, P., University of Minnesota
Park, D. S., University of Minnesota
Zhang, K., University of Minnesota
Tsapatsis, M., University of Minnesota
Fan, W., University of Massachusetts Amherst
Cho, H. J., University of Massachusetts
Ren, L., University of Minnesota
Spanjers, C. S., University of Minnesota

The catalytic conversion of biomass-derived feedstocks
to value added chemicals is an important challenge to alleviate the dependence
on petroleum-based resources. To accomplish this, the inherently high oxygen
content of biomass compounds, such as that of lignocellulosic biomass, requires
significant reduction via hydrodeoxygenation strategies. The unsaturated
carboxylic acid itaconic acid (IA) can be produced from biomass via
fermentation pathways, for example. A pathway of interest is the conversion of
IA to isoprene, facilitating the renewable production of an industrially
relevant diolefin. IA is successively hydrogenated to yield 3-methyl tetrahydrofuran
(3-MTHF), in a one-pot cascade reaction (Figure 1A), where a Pd-Re/SiO2
bimetallic catalyst results in the highest 3-MTHF yield (80%, Figure 1B). The
3-MTHF is then converted to isoprene, and other pentadienes, through an acid
catalyzed vapor-phase dehydra-decyclization. Multiple solid acid catalysts,
including aluminosilicates, metal oxides and phosporous modified zeolites, were
screened for the dehydra-decyclization step. All silicon phosphorous containing
zeolites were found to be the most selective (70% isoprene and 20% pentadienes),
where the major side reaction involved a retro-prins condensation of 3-MTHF to butane
and formaldehyde. Through kinetic studies, an investigation into the effect of
Brønsted acid strength, pore size and operating conditions on the selectivity
to isoprene are discussed.

Figure
1.
 
A. Itaconic acid, produced by glucose fermentation, is converted by
one-pot hydrogenation to 3-methyl-tetrahydrofuran (3-MTHF).  Gas-phase
dehydra-decyclization of 3-MTHF with solid acid catalysts yields isoprene.  B. 
Three conditions of experimental conversion of IA (5 wt% in H2O) to
3-MTHF (red) with supported metal catalysts and hydrogen pressure after 24
hours. Products include methyl-butanol (■,
MBO), resulting from the over-hydrogenation of 3-MTHF.

[1] Abdelrahman, O. A.;
Park, D. S.; Vinter, K. P.; Spanjers, C. S.; Ren, L.; Cho, H. J.; Zhang, K.;
Fan, W.; Tsapatsis, M.; Dauenhauer, P. J. ACS Catal. 20177,
1428-1431.

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