Cover Picture: Syntheses of Biodiesel Precursors: Sulfonic Acid Catalysts for Condensation of Biomass-Derived Platform Molecules (ChemSusChem 4/2014)

Authors

  • Dr. Madhesan Balakrishnan,

    1. Energy Biosciences Institute, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, CA 94720 (USA)
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  • Eric R. Sacia,

    1. Energy Biosciences Institute, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, CA 94720 (USA)
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  • Prof. Alexis T. Bell

    Corresponding author
    1. Energy Biosciences Institute, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, CA 94720 (USA)
    • Energy Biosciences Institute, Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, University of California at Berkeley, CA 94720 (USA)===

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Abstract

original image

The cover picture shows the utility of silica-supported alkyl sulfonic acid catalysts for the sustainable production of diesel fuel from biomass. A number of small furanic platform molecules are available from the acid-catalyzed dehydration of biomass-derived sugars. However, one of the main challenges to producing high quality biodiesel is selectively upgrading these small molecules into products appropriate for the diesel range (C11–C23). The silica-supported catalyst illustrated in the cover picture meets this challenge with high efficiency and recyclability without the need for a solvent, thereby contributing to sustainability of this green, alternative diesel precursor. The hydrophobic alkyl sulfonic acid functionality of this catalyst is the key for high activity as well as hydrolytic stability throughout the synthesis of the biodiesel precursors shown in this work. More detail is given in the Full Paper by Balakrishnan et al. on page 1078 (DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201300931), while more information about the research group is available in the Cover Profile (DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201400090).

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