MESO/MACROPOROUS CERAMICS FOR CATALYTIC CONVERSION OF LIGNOCELLULOSIC BIOMASS INTO CHEMICALS OF INDUSTRIAL INTEREST

Reference Presenter Authors
(Institution)
Abstract
06-176 Maria José Fonseca Costa Costa, M.F.(University of Sao Paulo); Ferreira, E.B.(University of São Paulo); Eckert, H.(University of Sao Paulo);

The heterogeneously catalyzed conversion of biomass into fuel and fine chemicals is a new research field of particular attraction and relevance to the Brazilian national economy. While a wide range of suitable catalysts (as zeolites, mesoporous zeolites and mesoporous materials) have been studied in laboratory scale, at the present time no large-scale industrial plant utilizing such catalysts are in operation in Brazil. The transport of heavy biomass molecules into the catalyst pores is very cumbersome and impaired by severe mass transfer limitations. To transform, the biomass requires a dispersant as a reaction medium and hydrolytically stable catalyst materials endowed with a large system of interconnected macropores. We aim to achieve this goal using macroporous ceramic scaffolds based on aluminosilicate and aluminophosphate compositions prepared via ceramic processing and sol-gel chemistry. Especially the glass powder crystallization is used as process strategy for developing glass-ceramics with designed macroporous microstructures and mechanical-chemical properties. The macropore interconnected surface can be subsequently functionalized either by embedding or covering it with the corresponding catalytically active oxide/oxyphosphate mesoporous overlayers. Dual templating strategies are pursued to generate hierarchically ordered single-phase materials combining both meso- and macroporosity. The properties of the resulting materials are designed to catalyze the reaction of cellulose into hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a high-value chemical. Structure/function relationships are intended to be elucidated by structural characterization methods on multiple length scales. The details of the current stage of this research effort will be presented and discussed.