James Dumesic

Steenbock Professor and Michel Boudart Professor

Room: 3014
Engineering Hall
1415 Engineering Drive
Madison, WI 53706

Ph: (608) 262-1095
Fax: (608) 262-5434
dumesic@engr.wisc.edu


Profile Summary

James A. Dumesic earned his B.S. degree from UW-Madison and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University, under the supervision of Professor Michel Boudart.  Dumesic joined the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1976, and he is currently the Steenbock Chair in the College of Engineering and the Michel Boudart Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering.  Throughout his career, Dumesic has used spectroscopic, microcalorimetric, and reaction kinetics techniques to study the surface and dynamic properties of heterogeneous catalysts.  Dumesic pioneered the field of microkinetic analysis, in which diverse information from experimental and theoretical studies is combined to elucidate the essential surface chemistry that controls catalyst performance.  He has recently studied how aqueous-phase reforming of biomass-derived carbohydrates can be tailored to selectively produce H2 or directed to produce liquid hydrocarbons.  Most recently, he has been studying the use of furan compounds, levulinic acid, and gamma-valerolactone as biomass-derived platform chemicals for the production of fuels and chemicals.   Dumesic has received a variety of awards and honors in the field of catalysis and chemical engineering.  In 1998, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.  In 2006, he received the Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis from the American Chemical Society.  In 2007 he was awarded the Burwell National Lectureship by the North American Catalysis Society.  In 2008, he received the Hilldale Award for distinguished professional accomplishment at the University of Wisconsin, and he received the inaugural Heinz Heinemann Award by the International Association of Catalysis Societies.  He was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009, and he was awarded the William H. Walker Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for outstanding contributions to the chemical engineering literature.  In 2011 he received the Michel Boudart Award for advances in catalysis at the North American Catalysis Meeting and at the meeting of the European Federation of Catalysis Societies.  In 2012 he received the George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry from the American Chemical Society.

Over the past 10 years, Dumesic and his group have elucidated the fundamental surface chemistry involved in the catalytic conversion of biomass-derived compounds to fuels and chemicals. In addition, Dumesic and his group have developed new catalytic processing strategies and novel reactor configurations to achieve the selective transformation of biomass-derived reactants to targeted platform chemical intermediates, such as furfural, hydroxymethylfurfural, levulinic acid, and gamma-valerolactone (GVL).  These platform molecules form the basis for a “bio-refinery” in which renewable biomass resources can be converted in a flexible manner to high-volume fuels and/or lower volume, higher values chemicals. During the past year, Dumesic and his group have focused attention on developing new methods to implement their bio-refinery concepts for real biomass feedstocks, including hemi-cellulose, cellulose, and lignin.  For example, they have shown that alkylphenol compounds, such as sec-butylphenol, form a class of solvents that is effective for the selective extraction of furfural, hydroxymethylfurfural, and levulinic acid from aqueous solutions of mineral acids (e.g., sulfuric acid), allowing these acid catalysts to be used for deconstruction of hemi-cellulose and cellulose, followed by extraction of the reaction products, and completed by recycle of the mineral acids for further cycles of biomass deconstruction.  In addition, Dumesic and his group have developed new bimetallic catalysts that operate effectively in the presence of alkylphenol solvents, such as for the selective conversion of levulinic acid to GVL, the latter being a valuable chemical that can be removed from the less-volatile alkylphenol solvent by distillation.  An important recent advance in this direction was the report by Dumesic and his group that alkylphenol solvents could be produced by catalytic conversion of lignin. In particular, they showed that the lignin in poplar wood could be converted to a mixture of propylguiacol and propylsyringol, and this lignin-derived solvent was as effective as petroleum-derived sec-butylphenol for use in the biphasic conversion of hemi-cellulose to furfural, and the conversion of cellulose to hydroxymethylfurfural, levulinic acid, and GVL.  An important aspect of work by the Dumesic group in the use of alkylphenol solvents in biomass processing is the catalytic conversion of glucose in high yields (62%) to hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a versatile platform chemical. In this work they employed a reaction system consisting of a Lewis acid metal chloride (e.g., AlCl3) and a Brønsted acid (HCl) in a biphasic reactor consisting of water and an alkylphenol compound (2-sec-butylphenol) as the organic phase. The conversion of glucose in the presence of Lewis and Brønsted acidity proceeds through a tandem pathway involving isomerization of glucose to fructose, followed by dehydration of fructose to HMF. The organic phase extracts 97% of the HMF produced, while both acid catalysts remain in the aqueous phase.  Importantly, they showed how the valuable HMF product could be removed from the alkylphenol solvent by contacting the solvent with water and hexane, whereby the addition of hexane partitions the more hydrophilic HMF product to the aqueous phase.  We note here that the conversion of renewable resources to HMF is becoming of major interest in the academic and industrial communities, because HMF can be oxidized to furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), and the latter can be used to produce a plastic bottle that has better properties than PET (i.e., lower permeability of CO2 for the storage of carbonated beverages).

In addition to their work involving the synthesis of new solvents from lignin, Dumesic and his group have recently developed new catalytic processing strategies using GVL as a biomass-derived solvent.  For example, they employed a biphasic reaction systems consisting of GVL and a reactive aqueous solution to achieve high yields of levulinic and formic acids (e.g., 70%) from cellulose.  This approach leads to complete solubilization of cellulose, including cellulose degradation species (i.e., humins) that are problematic in conventional biomass processing methods.  The GVL solvent extracts the majority of the levulinic acid, which can subsequently be converted to GVL over a carbon-supported Ru-Sn catalyst. This approach for cellulose conversion eliminates the need to separate the final product from the solvent, because the GVL product is the solvent.  It is important to note that Dumesic’s previous work has shown that GVL have be converted with high yields by decarboxylation over an acid catalyst to produce butene, and butene can undergo dimerization to gasoline or oligomerization to jet fuel compounds.   In recent work, Dumesic and his group have continued to exploit the use of GVL as a solvent by demonstrating a new processing strategy which utilizes solid acid catalysts (i.e., H-mordenite) to produce furfural from hemi-cellulose xylose at high yields (80%) a monophasic system using GVL as a solvent with minimal water. They show that furfural degradation reactions, especially condensation reactions between furfural and sugar intermediates, are decreased significantly when the concentration of water in the GVL solvent is minimized. They also demonstrated that their strategy can be applied in a pulp and paper manufacturing facility to convert xylose and its oligomers in hemicellulose waste streams (i.e., pre-hydrolysis liquors) to furfural with high yields, while trace amounts of glucose and oligomers are converted simultaneously to valuable products such as furfural, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and levulinic acid.

Education

  • B.S., UW-Madison
  • M.S., Ph.D., Stanford University

Research Interests

  • kinetics and catalysis
  • surface and solid-state chemistry
  • in situ catalyst studies

Awards, Honors and Societies

  • Colburn Award, AIChE (1983)
  • Emmett Award, North American Catalysis Society (1989)
  • Polygon Outstanding Instructor Award (1989)
  • New York Catalysis Society Award (1994)
  • Benjamin Smith Reynolds Award (teaching excellence) (1995)
  • Wilhelm Award, AIChE (1997)
  • Elected to the National Academy of Engineering (1998)
  • Parravano Award, Michigan Catalysis Society (1999)
  • Byron Bird Award for Excellence in Research, University of Wisconsin (2002)
  • Herman Pines Award, Chicago Catalysis Club (2003)
  • Scientific American Top 50 Technology Leaders of 2003 (2003)
  • Wisconsin Technology Achievement Award (2004)
  • Cross Canada Lectureship Award of the Canadian Catalysis Society (2004)
  • Fellow, World Technology Network (WTN) (2005)
  • American Chemical Society: Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis (2006)
  • Philadelphia Catalysis Club Award (2006)
  • Burwell Lectureship, North American Catalysis Society (2007)
  • Scientific American Top 50 Technology Leaders of 2007 (2008)
  • Hilldale Award, University of Wisconsin (2008)
  • Heinemann Award, International Federation of Catalysis Societies (2008)
  • American Academy of Arts and Sciences (2009)
  • William H. Walker Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers (2009)
  • The Top 100 People in Bio-Energy; Biofuels Digest (2010 - 2012)
  • Michel Boudart Award for Advancement in Catalysis, North American Catalysis Society and European Federation of Catalysis Societies (2011)
  • George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry, American Chemical Society (2012)

Publications

  • Acid-Functionalized SBA-15-Type Periodic Mesoporous Organosilicas and Their Use in the Continuous Production of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural, ACS Catalysis 2, 1865 (2012), with M. H. Tucker, A. J. Crisci, B. N. Wigington, N. Phadke, R. Alamillo, J. P. Zhang, and S. L. Scott.
  • Water-Compatible Lewis Acid-Catalyzed Conversion of Carbohydrates to 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural in a Biphasic Solvent System, Topics in Catalysis 55, 657 (2012), with T. F. Wang, Y.J. Pagan-Torres, E. J. Combs, and B. H. Shanks.
  • Production of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural from Glucose Using a Combination of Lewis and Bronsted Acid Catalysts in Water in a Biphasic Reactor with an Alkylphenol Solvent, ACS Catalysis 2, 930 (2012), with Y.J. Pagan-Torres, T. F. Wang, J. M. R. Gallo, and B. H. Shanks.
  • Ce promoted Pd-Nb catalysts for gamma-valerolactone ring-opening and hydrogenation, Green Chemistry 14, 3318 (2012) with R. Buitrago-Sierra, J. C. Serrano-Ruiz, F. Rodriguez-Reinoso, and A. Sepulveda-Escribano.
  • Triacetic acid lactone as a potential biorenewable platform chemical, Green Chemsitry 14, 1850 (2012) with M. Chia, T.J. Schwartz, and B.H. Shanks.
  • The selective hydrogenation of biomass-derived 5-hydroxymethylfurfural using heterogeneous catalysts, Green Chemistry 14, 1413 (2012) with R. Alamillo, M. Tucker, M. Chia, and Y.J. Pagan-Torres.
  • Sn-Beta catalyzed conversion of hemicellulosic sugars, Green Chemistry 14, 702 (2012) with M.S. Holm, Y.J. Pagan-Torres, S. Saravanamurugan, A. Riisager, and E. Taarning.
  • Production and upgrading of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural using heterogeneous catalysts and biomass-derived solvents, Green Chemistry 15, 85 (2013), with JMR Gallo, D. M. Alonso, and M. Mellmer.
  • Integrated conversion of hemicellulose and cellulose from lignocellulosic biomass, Energy and Environmental Science 6, 76 (2013), with D. M. Alonso, S. G. Wettstein, M. Mellmer, and E. I. Gürbüz.
  • Production of renewable petroleum refinery diesel and jet fuel feedstocks from hemicellulose sugar streams, Energy and Environmental Science 6, 205 (2013), with H. Olcay, A. V. Subrahmanyam, R. Xing, and G. W. Huber.
  • A sulfuric acid management strategy for the production of liquid hydrocarbon fuels via catalytic conversion of biomass-derived levulinic acid, Energy and Environmental Science 5, 9690 (2012), with S. M. Sen, D. M. Alonso, S. G. Wettstein, E. I. Gürbüz, C. A. Henao, and C. Maravelias.
  • Acid-catalyzed conversion of furfuryl alcohol to ethyl levulinate in liquid ethanol, Energy and Environmental Science 5, 8990 (2012), with G. M. G. Moldonado, R. S. Assary, and L. A. Curtiss.
  • Production of levulinic acid and gamma-valerolactone (GVL) from cellulose using GVL as a solvent in biphasic systems, Energy and Environmental Science 5, 8199 (2012), with S. G. Wettstein, D. M. Alonso, and Chong, Y. X.
  • Reaction kinetics studies of the conversions of formic acid and butyl formate over carbon-supported palladium in the liquid phase Journal of Catalysis 290, 193 (2012), with B. J. O’Neill, an E. I. Gürbüz.
  • Conversion of Hemicellulose to Furfural and Levulinic Acid using Biphasic Reactors with Alkylphenol Solvents, CHEMSUSCHEM 5, 383 (2012), with E. I. Gürbüz, and S. G. Wettstein.
  • Bimetallic catalysts for upgrading of biomass to fuels and chemicals, Chemical Society Reviews 41, 8075 (2012), with S. G. Wettstein, and D. M. Alonso.
  • Production of butene oligomers as transportation fuels using butene for esterification of levulinic acid from lignocellulosic biomass: process synthesis and technoeconomic evaluation, Green Chemistry 14, 3289 (2012), with S.M. Sen, E. I. Gürbüz, S. G. Wettstein, D. M. Alonso, and C. Maravelias.
  • Catalytic conversion of biomass using solvents derived from lignin, Green Chemistry 14, 1573 (2012), with P. Azadi, R. Carrasquillo-Flores, Y.J. Pagan-Torres, E. I. Gürbüz, and R. Farnood.
  • Experimental and Theoretical Studies of the Acid-Catalyzed Conversion of Furfuryl Alcohol to Levulinic Acid in Aqueous Solution, Energy and Environmental Sciences 5(5), 6981 (2012), with Gretchen M. González Maldonado, Rajeev S. Assary, and Larry A. Curtiss.
  • Aqueous Phase Glycerol Reforming by PtMo Bimetallic Nano-particle Catalyst: Product Selectivity and Structural Characterization, Topics in Catalysis, 55 (1-2), 53 (2012), with Paul J. Dietrich, Rodrigo J. Lobo-Lapidus, Tianpin Wu, Aslihan Sumer, M. Cem Akatay, Bradley R. Fingland, Neng Guo, Christopher L. Marshall, Eric Stach, Julius Jellinek, W. Nicholas Delgass, Fabio H. Ribeiro, and Jeffrey T. Miller.
  • RuSn bimetallic catalysts for selective hydrogenation of levulinic acid to ?-valerolactone, Applied Catalysis B: Environmental, 117, 321 (2012), with Stephanie G. Wettstein, Jesse Q. Bond, David Martin Alonso, Hien N. Pham, and Abhaya K. Datye.
  • Atomic Layer Deposition of Titanium Phosphate on Silica Nanoparticles, Journal of Vacuum Science and Technology, 20(1), 01A134 (2012), with Monika K. Wiedmann, David H. K. Jackson, Yomaira J. Pagan-Torres, and T. F. Kuech.
  • Conversion of hemicellulose to furfural and levulinic acid using biphasic reactors with alkylphenol solvents, Chemistry and Sustainability 5(2), 383 (2012), with Elif I. Gürbüz and Stephanie G. Wettstein.
  • Liquid-phase catalytic transfer hydrogenation and cyclization of levulinic acid and its esters to gamma-valerolactone over metal oxide catalysts, Chemical Communications 47(44), 12233 (2011), with Mei Chia.
  • Production of Biofuels from Cellulose and Corn Stover Using Alkylphenol Solvents, Chemistry and Sustainability 4, 1078 (2011),  with David Martin Alonso, Stephanie G. Wettstein, Jesse Q. Bond, and Thatcher W. Root.
  • Production of liquid hydrocarbon fuels by catalytic conversion of biomass-derived levulinic acid, Green Chemistry 7, 1755 (2011), Drew J. Braden, Carlos A. Henao, Jacob Heltzel, and Christos C. Maravelias.
  • Catalytic Conversion of Lignocellulosic Biomass to Fuels: Process Development and Technoeconomic Evaluation, Chemical Engineering Science 67, 57 (2012), with S. Murat Sen, Carlos A. Henao, Drew J. Braden, and Christos T. Maravelias.
  • Reaction Pathways and Kinetics for Catalytic Processing of Biomass-Derived Oxygenated Hydrocarbons – Production of H2 and Liquid Transportation Fuels, in Issues for Bio-fuels Production, Robert Schloegl and Abhaya Datye, editors, with Elif Gurbuz.
  • Selective hydrogenolysis of polyols and cyclic ethers over bifunctional surface sites on rhodium-rhenium catalysts, Journal of the American Chemical Society 133, 12675 (2011), with Mei Chia, Yomaira J. Pagán-Torres, David Hibbitts, Qiaohua Tan, Hien N. Pham, Abhaya K. Datye, Matthew Neurock, and Robert J. Davis.
  • Inter-conversion between ?-valerolactone and pentenoic acid combined with decarboxylation to form butene over silica/alumina, Journal of Catalysis 281, 290 (2011), with Jesse Q. Bond, Dong Wang, and David Martin Alonso.
  • Catalytic routes for the conversion of biomass into liquid hydrocarbon transportation fuels, Energy and Environmental Science 4, 83 (2011), with Juan Carlos Serrano-Ruiz.
  • Reactive extraction of levulinate esters and conversion to gamma-valerolactone for production of liquid fuels, Chemistry and Sustainability (ChemSusChem) 4, 357 (2011), with Elif I. Gürbüz, David Martin Alonso, and Jesse Q. Bond.
  • A Microkinetic Analysis and Mechanism for the Water Gas Shift Reaction over Copper Catalysts, Journal of Catalysis 281, 1 (2011), with Rostam J. Madon, Drew Braden, Shampa Kandoi, Peter Nagel, and Manos Mavrikakis.
  • Synthesis of highly ordered hydrothermally stable mesoporous niobia catalysts by atomic layer deposition, ACS Catalysis 1, 1234 (2011), with Yomaira J. Pagán-Torres, Jean Marcel R. Gallo, Dong Wang, Hien N. Pham, Joseph A. Libera, Christopher L. Marshall, Jeffrey W. Elam, and Abhaya K. Datye.
  • Activation of Amberlyst-70 for alkene oligomerization in hydrophobic media, Topics in Catalysis 54, 447 (2011), with Jesse Q. Bond, David Martin Alonso, and Eric Wang.
  • Improved Hydrothermal Stability of Niobia-Supported Pd Catalysts, accepted in Applied Catalysis B - Environmental, with Hien N. Pham, Yomaira J. Pagan-Torres, Juan Carlos Serrano-Ruiz, Dong Wang, and Abhaya K. Datye.
  • Reaction Kinetics of Ethylene Glycol Reforming over Platinum in the Vapor versus Aqueous Phases, Journal of Physical Chemistry C 115, 961 (2011), with Shampa Kandoi, Jeff Greeley, Dante Simonetti, John Shabaker, and Manos Mavrikakis.
  • Techno-economic analysis of dimethylfuran (DMF) and hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) production from pure fructose in catalytic processes, Chemical Engineering Journal 169, 329 (2011), with Akshay Patel, Juan Carlos Serrano-Ruiz, and Robert P. Anex.

Courses

Fall 2014-2015

  • CBE 699 - Advanced Independent Studies

  • CBE 599 - Special Problems
  • CBE 430 - Chemical Kinetics and Reactor Design
  • CBE 990 - Thesis-Research
  • CBE 890 - Pre-Dissertator\'s Research
  • CBE 790 - Master\'s Research or Thesis
  • CBE 489 - Honors in Research
  • Profile Summary

    James A. Dumesic earned his B.S. degree from UW-Madison and his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University, under the supervision of Professor Michel Boudart.  Dumesic joined the Department of Chemical Engineering in 1976, and he is currently the Steenbock Chair in the College of Engineering and the Michel Boudart Professor of Chemical and Biological Engineering.  Throughout his career, Dumesic has used spectroscopic, microcalorimetric, and reaction kinetics techniques to study the surface and dynamic properties of heterogeneous catalysts.  Dumesic pioneered the field of microkinetic analysis, in which diverse information from experimental and theoretical studies is combined to elucidate the essential surface chemistry that controls catalyst performance.  He has recently studied how aqueous-phase reforming of biomass-derived carbohydrates can be tailored to selectively produce H2 or directed to produce liquid hydrocarbons.  Most recently, he has been studying the use of furan compounds, levulinic acid, and gamma-valerolactone as biomass-derived platform chemicals for the production of fuels and chemicals.   Dumesic has received a variety of awards and honors in the field of catalysis and chemical engineering.  In 1998, he was elected to the National Academy of Engineering.  In 2006, he received the Somorjai Award for Creative Research in Catalysis from the American Chemical Society.  In 2007 he was awarded the Burwell National Lectureship by the North American Catalysis Society.  In 2008, he received the Hilldale Award for distinguished professional accomplishment at the University of Wisconsin, and he received the inaugural Heinz Heinemann Award by the International Association of Catalysis Societies.  He was elected as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences in 2009, and he was awarded the William H. Walker Award of the American Institute of Chemical Engineers for outstanding contributions to the chemical engineering literature.  In 2011 he received the Michel Boudart Award for advances in catalysis at the North American Catalysis Meeting and at the meeting of the European Federation of Catalysis Societies.  In 2012 he received the George A. Olah Award in Hydrocarbon or Petroleum Chemistry from the American Chemical Society.

    Over the past 10 years, Dumesic and his group have elucidated the fundamental surface chemistry involved in the catalytic conversion of biomass-derived compounds to fuels and chemicals. In addition, Dumesic and his group have developed new catalytic processing strategies and novel reactor configurations to achieve the selective transformation of biomass-derived reactants to targeted platform chemical intermediates, such as furfural, hydroxymethylfurfural, levulinic acid, and gamma-valerolactone (GVL).  These platform molecules form the basis for a “bio-refinery” in which renewable biomass resources can be converted in a flexible manner to high-volume fuels and/or lower volume, higher values chemicals. During the past year, Dumesic and his group have focused attention on developing new methods to implement their bio-refinery concepts for real biomass feedstocks, including hemi-cellulose, cellulose, and lignin.  For example, they have shown that alkylphenol compounds, such as sec-butylphenol, form a class of solvents that is effective for the selective extraction of furfural, hydroxymethylfurfural, and levulinic acid from aqueous solutions of mineral acids (e.g., sulfuric acid), allowing these acid catalysts to be used for deconstruction of hemi-cellulose and cellulose, followed by extraction of the reaction products, and completed by recycle of the mineral acids for further cycles of biomass deconstruction.  In addition, Dumesic and his group have developed new bimetallic catalysts that operate effectively in the presence of alkylphenol solvents, such as for the selective conversion of levulinic acid to GVL, the latter being a valuable chemical that can be removed from the less-volatile alkylphenol solvent by distillation.  An important recent advance in this direction was the report by Dumesic and his group that alkylphenol solvents could be produced by catalytic conversion of lignin. In particular, they showed that the lignin in poplar wood could be converted to a mixture of propylguiacol and propylsyringol, and this lignin-derived solvent was as effective as petroleum-derived sec-butylphenol for use in the biphasic conversion of hemi-cellulose to furfural, and the conversion of cellulose to hydroxymethylfurfural, levulinic acid, and GVL.  An important aspect of work by the Dumesic group in the use of alkylphenol solvents in biomass processing is the catalytic conversion of glucose in high yields (62%) to hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a versatile platform chemical. In this work they employed a reaction system consisting of a Lewis acid metal chloride (e.g., AlCl3) and a Brønsted acid (HCl) in a biphasic reactor consisting of water and an alkylphenol compound (2-sec-butylphenol) as the organic phase. The conversion of glucose in the presence of Lewis and Brønsted acidity proceeds through a tandem pathway involving isomerization of glucose to fructose, followed by dehydration of fructose to HMF. The organic phase extracts 97% of the HMF produced, while both acid catalysts remain in the aqueous phase.  Importantly, they showed how the valuable HMF product could be removed from the alkylphenol solvent by contacting the solvent with water and hexane, whereby the addition of hexane partitions the more hydrophilic HMF product to the aqueous phase.  We note here that the conversion of renewable resources to HMF is becoming of major interest in the academic and industrial communities, because HMF can be oxidized to furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), and the latter can be used to produce a plastic bottle that has better properties than PET (i.e., lower permeability of CO2 for the storage of carbonated beverages).

    In addition to their work involving the synthesis of new solvents from lignin, Dumesic and his group have recently developed new catalytic processing strategies using GVL as a biomass-derived solvent.  For example, they employed a biphasic reaction systems consisting of GVL and a reactive aqueous solution to achieve high yields of levulinic and formic acids (e.g., 70%) from cellulose.  This approach leads to complete solubilization of cellulose, including cellulose degradation species (i.e., humins) that are problematic in conventional biomass processing methods.  The GVL solvent extracts the majority of the levulinic acid, which can subsequently be converted to GVL over a carbon-supported Ru-Sn catalyst. This approach for cellulose conversion eliminates the need to separate the final product from the solvent, because the GVL product is the solvent.  It is important to note that Dumesic’s previous work has shown that GVL have be converted with high yields by decarboxylation over an acid catalyst to produce butene, and butene can undergo dimerization to gasoline or oligomerization to jet fuel compounds.   In recent work, Dumesic and his group have continued to exploit the use of GVL as a solvent by demonstrating a new processing strategy which utilizes solid acid catalysts (i.e., H-mordenite) to produce furfural from hemi-cellulose xylose at high yields (80%) a monophasic system using GVL as a solvent with minimal water. They show that furfural degradation reactions, especially condensation reactions between furfural and sugar intermediates, are decreased significantly when the concentration of water in the GVL solvent is minimized. They also demonstrated that their strategy can be applied in a pulp and paper manufacturing facility to convert xylose and its oligomers in hemicellulose waste streams (i.e., pre-hydrolysis liquors) to furfural with high yields, while trace amounts of glucose and oligomers are converted simultaneously to valuable products such as furfural, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and levulinic acid.


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