Low-temperature and highly efficient conversion of saccharides into formic acid under hydrothermal conditions

Jun Yun, Guodong Yao, Fangming Jin, Heng Zhong, Atsushi Kishita, Kazuyuki Tohji, Heiji Enomoto, Li Wang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

25 Citations (Scopus)


Production of formic acid, which has been regarded as an important H2 carrier, from biomass can be a highly potential way to provide human societies with renewable energy source. To attain economically viable production of formic acid from biomass on an industrial scale, the system operation at low reaction temperature is crucially important. In this work, a low-temperature hydrothermal conversion of carbohydrates such as monosaccharides and disaccharides into formic acid is reported. A good formic acid yield of 80–85% was obtained at a lower temperature of 423 K for only 15–20 min in the presence of NaOH without any other catalyst. The alkali was found to act as two roles in enhancing the production of formic acid. One was inhibition of the formic acid decomposition; another was favorable for the oxidation selectively at C-1 for aldoses, which leads to the formation of formic acid via the rupture of the C1–C2 bond.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3657-3663
Number of pages7
JournalAIChE Journal
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 2016 Oct 1


  • alkali catalyst
  • biomass conversion
  • formic acid
  • hydrogen carrier
  • saccharides

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Chemical Engineering(all)


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