Catalytic conversion of biomass-derived carbohydrates to chemicals and fuels

Ayusman Sen, Weiran Yang

Research output: Contribution to journalConference articlepeer-review


With diminishing reserves of fossil fuel, the production of liquid fuels and value-added chemicals directly from biomass is of great current interest. Carbohydrates, such as mono and polysaccharides and cellulose, typically constitute 50-80% of plant biomass. Existing technologies to biomass-derived products are typically energy intensive multi-step processes. We will demonstrate that biomass-derived carbohydrates such as fructose, glucose, and even cellulose can be catalytically converted to 2,5-dimethyltetrahydrofuran (DMTHF) in one step in relatively good yields under mild conditions. DMTHF is superior to ethanol and has many of the desirable properties currently found in typical petroleum-derived transportation fuels. Using a different catalytic reaction condition, 5-methylfurfural (MF) can also be obtained with relatively high selectivity from carbohydrates. MF is an useful intermediate for the production of drugs, agricultural chemicals, and perfumes. The scope and mechanism of these and related catalytic transformations will be discussed.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalACS National Meeting Book of Abstracts
StatePublished - 2011
Event241st ACS National Meeting and Exposition - Anaheim, CA, United States
Duration: Mar 27 2011Mar 31 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering


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