Continuous flow alcoholysis of furfuryl alcohol to alkyl levulinates and angelica lactones using zeolites
Continuous flow alcoholysis
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The present work explores the catalytic activity of various zeolites for the production of methyl levulinates from hemicellulose derived furfuryl alcohol and explores the performance of H-ZSM-5-50 in continuous flow alcoholysis. Good results were obtained with MFI zeolite H-ZSM-5-50, with methyl levulinate yields up to 80 % at 170 °C (50 bars) using a high load (1.6 M) feed at 0.2 mL min-1 flow rate. Angelica lactones were produced in significant amounts as one of the side products, albeit in lower amounts in continuous flow mode. Catalyst deactivation occurred at high furfuryl alcohol load through formation of pore blocking polyfurfuryl alcohols. The zeolites showed good re-usability after regeneration at 500 °C. The levulinates yields in ethanol and n-propanol were 20 % lower.