Synthesis of ethyl levulinate over amino-sulfonated functional carbon materials

Haixin Guo, Yuta Hirosaki, Xinhua Qi, Richard Lee Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

18 Citations (Scopus)


Functional carbon materials (FCM) containing amino and sulfonate groups (NS-FCM) were prepared with one-pot hydrothermal carbonization of cellulose using ammonium formate and 5-sulfosalicylic acid additives. The catalytic materials were applied to levulinic acid or furfuryl alcohol substrates in ethanol solvent for synthesizing ethyl levulinate (EL). Catalytic activity of NS-FCM was found to be related to its sulfonate groups, while substrate selectivity of NS-FCM was found to be related to its amino groups as supported by equilibrium adsorption and reaction experiments. Pre-adsorbed LA substrate onto NS-FCM followed by ethanol treatment at reaction conditions achieved EL yields higher than 90% that is attributed to a selective adsorption and cooperative desorption mechanism. The activity of NS-FCM catalyst was stable for five reuse cycles, but lost about 10% of its activity from the third cycle that is attributed to adsorption of humin precursors onto active sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-958
Number of pages8
JournalRenewable Energy
Publication statusPublished - 2020 Sep


  • Adsorption pretreatment
  • C5/C6 carbohydrates
  • Ethyl levulinate
  • N-doped carbonaceous functional materials
  • Sulfonated method

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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