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Open Access Synthesis of Methyl Lactate from Glycerol Using Sn-Beta Zeolite

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Lactic acid can not only be used to produce multiple chemicals, but can also be the building block for biodegradable and biocompatible polylactic acid identified as a renewable resource. As a by-product in biodiesel production, the glycerol yield increases with a rapid expansion of biodiesel. However, in the chemical and environmental fields it is still a great challenge to produce lactic acid or methyl lactate from glycerol. Herein, Sn-Beta zeolite was prepared through solid-state ion exchange (Sn-Beta SSIE) and was tested for base-free one-pot catalytic selective oxidation of glycerol into methyl lactate in methanol. The results showed that a maximum selectivity of up to 56.7% was achieved with a 36.8% conversion rate at 433 K within 4 h under an initial oxygen pressure of 0.1 MPa. In addition, the methyl lactate yield is not high because of its decomposition in the presence of oxygen. This study aims to contribute to the development of the polylactic acid industry.

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Keywords: GLYCEROL; HETEROGENEOUS CATALYST; METHYL LACTATE; SELECTIVE CATALYTIC OXIDATION; SN-BETA ZEOLITE

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 01 January 2017

This article was made available online on 20 April 2017 as a Fast Track article with title: "Synthesis of Methyl Lactate from Glycerol Using Sn-Beta Zeolite".

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  • The Journal of Renewable Materials (JRM) publishes high quality peer reviewed original research on macromolecules and additives obtained from renewable/biobased resources. Utilizing a multidisciplinary approach, JRM introduces cutting-edge research on biobased monomers, polymers, additives (both organic and inorganic), their blends and composites. It showcases both fundamental aspects and new applications for renewable materials. The fundamental theories and topics pertain to chemistry of biobased monomers, macromoners and polymers, their structure-property relationship, processing using sustainable methods, characterization (spectroscopic, morphological, thermal, mechanical, and rheological), bio and environmental degradation, and life cycle analysis. Demonstration of use of renewable materials and composites in applications including adhesives, bio and environmentally degradable structures, biomedicine, construction, electrical & electronics, mechanical, mendable and self-healing systems, optics, packaging, recycling, shape-memory, and stimulus responsive systems will be presented.
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