Selective conversion of glucose into lactic acid and acetic acid with copper oxide under hydrothermal conditions


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Biomass as a source for chemicals production attracts growing attention due to the decreasing storage of fossil fuels and global warming caused by emission of CO2. In this study, conversion of glucose with copper oxide (CuO) was studied under alkaline hydrothermal conditions using a batch reactor and continuous flow reactor. CuO, as an oxidant, greatly improves the yields of lactic acid (LA) and acetic acid from glucose and was reduced into Cu2O and Cu. Selective production of LA with the highest yield of 59% and acetic acid with the highest yield of 32% can be achieved by controlling reaction time, temperature, and addition of CuO. A possible mechanism of conversion of glucose with CuO was proposed. © 2012 American Institute of Chemical Engineers AIChE J, 59: 2096–2104, 2013