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Associate Professor Xuebin Lv published Article about Biomass Energy Utilization

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Recently, Associate Professor Xuebin Lv in School of Environmental Science and Engineering published an important article about biomass energy utilization “Production of γ-valerolactone from levulinic acid over a Ru/C catalyst using formic acid as the sole hydrogen source” in Science of The Total Environment. 

In this study, conversion of levulinic acid (LA) to γ-valerolactone (GVL) over a ruthenium-carbon (Ru/C) catalyst using formic acid (FA) as the sole hydrogen source in cellulose hydrolysis process was investigated. The reaction was accelerated using Ru (5 wt%)/C as the catalyst and by adding triethylamine. The highest LA conversion (87.26%) and GVL yield (80.75%) were obtained using 10 g/mol (LA) catalyst and 150 mL/mol (LA) triethylamine at 160 °C for 180 min. In this reaction, the hydrogenation process can only be accomplished in the presence of FA, which is the byproduct of LA production from cellulose hydrolysis. The application of this new route not only improves the economy of the process, but also avoids the energy-costly separation of LA from the LA and FA aqueous mixture. A new reaction pathway for the conversion of LA and FA into GVL over Ru/C with triethylamine was proposed. (https://doi.org/10.1016/j.scitotenv.2018.03.209)

Graphic abstract: Proposed reaction pathway for the conversion of LA and FA into GVL

By: Xuebin Lv

Editors: Qin Mian and Keith Harrington