The present research project aims the use of sugarcane-derived biomass, more specifically the product of its acid hydrolysis, to obtain chemical products with high added value such as gama-valerolactones, pyrrolidones and compounds from lignin hydrogenolysis. For this purpose, metallic catalysts based on iron, nickel and ruthenium as well as formic acid as hydrogen/hydride source, will be employed (FA is a byproduct of the acid hydrolysis of cellulose and hemicelluloses). The choice of these metals is mainly due to: 1) Previous studies showing that FA is activated by these metals, which avoid the use of external sources of hydrogen and pressure; 2) lower cost compared to the metallic catalysts currently used in this type of chemistry (platinum, palladium, iridium); 3) the possibility of using mild reaction conditions (lower temperatures and pressures) in the proposed reactions. Not only model solutions (levulinic acid and formic acid) but also "real" solutions, coming from reactors where the acid hydrolysis of bagasse was performed, will be studied as a chemical and technological challenge. As results and perspectives, it is expected that the development of the chemistry of biomass will contribute to the better utilization of this renewable source of carbon and allow new chemical processes development (and if successful, technology transfer to industry).
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: