Catalytic valorisation of biomass levulinic acid into gamma valerolactone using formic acid as a H2 donor: a critical review

RSC Adv. 2022 May 6;12(22):13673-13694. doi: 10.1039/d2ra01379g. eCollection 2022 May 5.


This review sheds light on the catalytic valorisation of agroforestry biomass through levulinic acid and formic acid towards γ-valerolactone and other higher-value chemicals. γ-Valerolactone is produced by the hydrogenation of levulinic acid, which can be achieved through an internal hydrogen transfer reaction with formic acid in the presence of catalyst. By reviewing corresponding catalysts, the paper underlines the most efficient steps constituting an integrated sustainable process that eliminates the need for external H2 sources while producing biofuels as an alternative energy source. Furthermore, the review emphasizes the role of catalysts in the hydrogenation of levulinic acid, with special focus on heterogeneous catalysts. The authors highlighted the dual role of different catalysts by comparing their activity, morphology, electronic structure, synergetic relation between support and doped species, as well as their deactivation and recyclability. Acknowledging the need for green and sustainable H2 production, the review extends to cover the role of photo catalysis in dissociating H2-donor solvents for reducing levulinic acid into γ-valerolactone under mild temperatures. To wrap up, the critical discussion presented enables readers to hone their knowledge about different schools and emphasizes research gaps emerging from experimental work. The review concludes with a comprehensive table summarizing the recent catalysts reported between the years 2017-2021.

PMID:35530384 | PMC:PMC9073962 | DOI:10.1039/d2ra01379g


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