Turkish Journal of Chemistry




A series of Zr(SO4)2/SiO2 solid acid catalysts with different Zr(SO4)2 loadings were prepared by water-soluble-impregnation method at room temperature. Then, the prepared catalysts were characterized by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, transmission electron microscopy and energy-dispersive X-ray spectrum, X-ray diffraction, adsorption/desorption of N2, and temperature-programmed desorption of NH3. The results showed that the active component Zr(SO4)2 was successfully adhered to the mesoporous SiO2, and the acid amount of Zr(SO4)2/SiO2 increased with the increasing of the Zr(SO4)2 loadings. Finally, the wheat stalk was used as raw material and depolymerized over Zr(SO4)2/SiO2 to produce ethyl levulinate (EL). The reaction mixture was separated and purified by filtration and vacuum distillation. The kinetic characteristics and the reaction pathway were also studied. A comparative study showed that 20 wt.% Zr(SO4)2/SiO2 exhibited higher catalytic activity. When reaction temperature, time, catalyst dosage and Zr(SO4)2 loadings were 190 °C, 50 min, 20 wt.% and 30 wt.%, the EL yield reached a maximum of 17.14%. The relative content of EL exceeded 90% after three steps of distillation.

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