Research Cluster for Acid-Base Catalysts

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Development of novel solid acid-base catalysts for the conversion of

abundant carbohydrates in nature to platform molecules for bulk chemical production

Cluster Leader Kiyotaka NAKAJIMA

Member Junya HASEGAWA (ICAT, Hokkaido University), Yuichi KAMIYA (Hokkaido University), Nobuyuki ICHIKUNI (Chiba Univ.), Toshiyuki YOKOI (Tokyo Institute of Technology), Ken MOTOKURA (Tokyo Institute of Technology), Emiel J.M. HENSEN (Eindhoven Univ. of Technology, The Nederlands), Hideki KATO(Tohoku Univ.), Barbara ONIDA (The Politecnico di Torino, Italy)

Chemical production from renewable and easily accessible carbohydrates in nature is increasingly important in recent years for the development of sustainable society. Plant-derived carbohydrates, which show higher reactivity than fossil fuel-derived hydrocarbons, can be converted to attractive platform molecules (furans, organic acids, ketones, aldehydes, olefin, etc.) by acid-base catalysis in water. In this project, water-compatible acid and base functionality of electron-deficient metal species and electron-rich lattice oxygen sites, respectively, on metal oxides has been studied for aqueous-phase reactions of the carbohydrates. Precise control of basicity for oxide catalysts would enable selective production of various small (C2-C4) and large (> C12) hydrocarbons though fragmentation and condensation reactions. The resulting molecules can be used as sustainable resources for the production of a variety of industrially important chemicals.


Conceptual illustration of acid-base pair on metal oxide surface available for carbohydrates conversion in water