Catalytic Transformation Research Division

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Molecular Design of Heterogeneous Catalysts and Application to Conversion of Renewable Resources

Professor Atsushi FUKUOKA Associate Professor Kiyotaka NAKAJIMA Assistant Professor Hirokazu KOBAYASHI

Assistant Professor Abhijit Shrotri

Our strategy is preparation of heterogeneous catalysts based on precise design at molecular level and their applications to the conversion of renewable resources. One example is the catalytic degradation of plant biomass (cellulose, hemicellulose and lignin) to value-added chemicals (sugars and aromatics). Recently, we found that mix-milling of cellulose and activated carbon affords high yield of glucose from cellulose in a very low concentration of HCl solution (Fig. 1). Further improvement in catalytic activity and the reaction mechanism are now under
investigation.

Another recent finding in our group includes high catalytic performance of Pt nanoparticles on mesoporous silica (Pt/MCM-41) in oxidation of ethylene. The catalyst completely oxidizes a low concentration (50 ppm) of ethylene even at 0C and exhibits its durability and reusability (Fig.2). The current research is focusing on mechanistic studies and oxidation of other volatile organic compounds (VOC).

Fig. 1 Hydrolysis of cellulose catalyzed by activated carbon. Fig. 2 Low-temperature oxidation of ethylene over Pt/MCM-41.