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Keywords:

  • alcohols;
  • biomass;
  • esterification;
  • heterogeneous catalysis;
  • solid acids

Abstract

We study the catalytic condensation of furfuryl alcohol with 1-butanol to butyl levulinate. A screening of several commercial and as-synthesized solid acid catalysts shows that propylsulfonic acid-functionalized mesoporous silica outperforms the state-of-the-art phosphotungstate acid catalysts. The catalyst is prepared via template-assisted sol-gel polycondensation of TEOS and MPTMS. It gives 96 % yield (and 100 % selectivity) of butyl levulinate in 4 h at 110 °C. Reaction profiles before and after a hot filtration test confirm that the active catalytic species do not leach into the solution. The catalyst synthesis, characterization, and mode of operation are presented and discussed.