skip to main content

Title: Catalytic Deoxydehydration of Carbohydrates and Polyols to Chemicals and Fuels

As the world's fossil fuel resources are being depleted and their costs increase, there is an urgent need to discover and develop new processes for the conversion of renewable, biomass resources into fuels and chemical feedstocks. Research and development in this area have been given high priority by both governmental agencies and industry. To increase the energy content and decrease the boiling points of biomass-derived carbohydrates and polyols to the useful liquid range it is necessary to chemically remove water (dehydrate) and, preferably, oxygen (deoxygenate/reduce). The poly-hydroxylic nature of carbohydrates is attractive for their use as functionalized chemical building blocks, but it presents a daunting challenge for their selective conversion to single product chemicals or fuels. The long term, practical objective of this project is to develop catalytic processes for the deoxydehydration (DODH) of biomass-derived carbohydrates and polyols to produce unsaturated alcohols and hydrocarbons of value as chemical feedstocks and fuels; DODH: polyol + reductant --(LMOx catalyst)--> unsaturate + oxidized reductant + H2O. Limited prior studies have established the viability of the DODH process with expensive phosphine reductants and rhenium-catalysts. Initial studies in the PI's laboratory have now demonstrated: 1) the moderately efficient conversion of glycols to olefins by themore » economical sulfite salts is catalyzed by MeReO3 and Z+ReO4-; 2) effective phosphine-based catalytic DODH of representative glycols to olefins by cheap LMoO2 complexes; and 3) computational studies (with K. Houk, UCLA) have identified several Mo-, W-, and V-oxo complexes that are likely to catalyze glycol DODH. Seeking practically useful DODH reactions of complex polyols and new understanding of the reactivity of polyoxo-metal species with biomass-oxygenates we will employ a two-pronged approach: 1) investigate experimentally the reactivity, both stoichiometric and catalytic, of polyoxo-complexes and practical reductants with representative polyols to establish structure/reactivity relationships and reaction mechanisms; and b) carry out parallel computational studies of these reactions and their mechanisms- both analytical and predictive. Our prioritized action plan is: (1) to optimize the catalytic efficiency, assess the substrate scope/selectivity, and address key mechanistic aspects of Re-catalyzed, sulfite-driven DODH reactions; (2) use the findings from (1), together with computational predictions, to discover new, effective non-precious metal catalysts for sulfite-driven DODH reactions; and 3) to initiate exploratory studies of CO- and H2-driven DODH. Successful execution of this research project will: 1) provide practical chemical processes for the conversion of biomass into useful chemicals and fuels: 2) bring fundamental new understanding of chemical reactions involving metal-oxo catalysts; and 3) provide educational and technical training of future energy scientists.« less
  1. Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK (United States)
Publication Date:
OSTI Identifier:
Report Number(s):
DOE Contract Number:
Resource Type:
Technical Report
Resource Relation:
Related Information: see DOIs below
Research Org:
Univ. of Oklahoma, Norman, OK (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
USDOE Office of Science (SC), Basic Energy Sciences (BES) (SC-22)
Country of Publication:
United States
09 BIOMASS FUELS; 37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANALYTICAL CHEMISTRY; catalysis; oxo-metal compounds; deoxygenation; deoxydehydration; polyols; carbohydrates