• heterogeneous catalysis;
  • hydrothermal synthesis;
  • lewis acids;
  • platinum;
  • tungsten


The performances of platinum supported on tungstated alumina (Pt/AlW) in the hydrothermal conversion of cellulose at 190 °C under H2 pressure were evaluated and compared to that of Pt-free tungstated alumina (AlW). We show that the presence of Pt significantly increased the extent of conversion and led to a different product distribution with the formation of acetol and propylene glycol as the main products and a global yield of up to 40 %. Based on previous reports, we propose the formation of pyruvaldehyde on the Lewis acid sites of the tungstated alumina as a key intermediate. Pyruvaldehyde can then be transformed to acetol and propylene glycol or lactic acid depending on the presence or absence of supported Pt.