Lactic Acid Dehydration

Lactic Acid Dehydration

Author: Susanne Poth

Acrylic acid is widely used for the preparation of plastics contained in numerous consumer products. The dehydration of biomass-derived lactic acid using heterogeneous catalysts could be an alternative route for its production. This approach would have a lower environmental footprint and economic impact compared to the existing propene-based process. However, catalysts for this transformation exhibit fast deactivation due to the deposition of carbonaceous species, hindering a practical implementation of this technology.

Javier Pérez-Ramírez and colleagues, ETH Zurich, Switzerland, engineered a catalyst for lactic acid dehydration consisting of a mesoporous NaY zeolite. The catalyst was obtained by dealumination and NaOH treatment of readily available commercial aluminosilicates. By carefully tuning the treatment conditions, mesoporosity and basic sites were created. These provided increased coke resistance without compromising on activity and selectivity. Due to the performance and the scalability of its preparation, this novel catalytic system could be promising for practical application.


Correction (April 28, 2016)
The title originally misidentified the reaction as “dehydrogenation”.

 

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