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Meso/macroporous ceramics for catalytic conversion of lignocellulosic biomass into chemicals of industrial interest

Grant number: 16/14165-0
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Post-Doctorate
Effective date (Start): October 01, 2016
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Materials and Metallurgical Engineering
Principal Investigator:Eduardo Bellini Ferreira
Grantee:Maria José Fonseca Costa
Home Institution: Escola de Engenharia de São Carlos (EESC). Universidade de São Paulo (USP). São Carlos , SP, Brazil
Associated research grant:13/07793-6 - CEPIV - Center for Teaching, Research and Innovation in Glass, AP.CEPID
Associated scholarship(s):19/12884-7 - Applications of new catalytic systems in lignocellulosic biomass conversion into chemicals and fuels, BE.EP.PD


The heterogeneously catalyzed conversion of biomass into fuel and fine chemicals is a new research field of particular attraction and relevance to the Brazilian national economy. While a wide range of suitable catalysts (as zeolites and mesoporous materials) have been studied in laboratory scale, at the present time no large-scale industrial plant utilizing such catalysts are in operation in Brazil. The transport of heavy biomass molecules into the catalyst pores is very cumbersome and impaired by severe mass transfer limitations. To be transformed the biomass requires a dispersant as a reaction medium and hydrolytically stable catalyst materials endowed with a large system of interconnected macropores. The present project aims to achieve this goal using macroporous ceramic scaffolds based on aluminosilicate and aluminophosphate compositions prepared via ceramic processing and sol-gel chemistry. Especially the processing of powdered glasses with concurrent crystallization will be used for developing glass-ceramics with macroporous microstructure and mechanical and chemical properties designed. The macropore interconnected surface will be functionalized either by embedding it with mesoporous vanadium and niobium oxides and/or oxyphosphates synthesized within the macropores, or covering it with the corresponding catalytically active oxide/oxyphosphate overlayers. Dual templating strategies will be pursued to generate hierarchically ordered single-phase materials combining both meso- and macroporosity. The catalytic properties of the resulting materials will be characterized using the cellulose-to-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) reaction, in a partnership with expert researchers in catalysis at the Brazilian Bioethanol Science and Technology Laboratory (CTBE). Structure/function relationships will be elucidated by structural characterization methods on multiple length scales. In particular, the atomic and microstructural organization of the matrix and the catalytically active species will be examined in detail using advanced single and double nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) and electron paramagnetic resonance (EPR) spectroscopies. Such techniques and analyses will be carried out in partnership with colleagues from CeRTEV at IFSC/USP, especially Prof. Hellmut Eckert, promoting exchange and synergy between the Center researchers. (AU)

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