Chemoselective Lactonization of Renewable Succinic Acid with Heterogeneous Nanoparticle Catalysts

Keiko Yakabi, Alexandra Jones, Antoine Buchard, Alberto Roldan, Ceri Hammond

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13 Citations (SciVal)
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The production of chemicals from renewable resources, resulting in the establishment of biorefineries, represents a challenge of increasing importance. Here we show that succinic acid, a C4 compound increasingly being produced on a kiloton scale by the microbial fermentation of sugar, can be selectively converted into a variety of important chemicals. Optimal performance in terms of activity, selectivity and reusability is observed with Al2O3-supported Pd nanoparticles, which mediate the selective, hydrogenative lactonization of succinic acid to γ-butyrolactone at >90% selectivity, even at high levels of conversion (<70%). Through a variety of kinetic, spectroscopic and microscopic studies, preliminary structure-activity relationships are presented, and the roles of the reaction conditions, the choice of metal and the nature of the support in terms of guiding the overall process selectivity, are also investigated. On a broader level, these studies demonstrate the suitability of succinic acid to act as a platform for renewable chemical production in future biorefineries.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16341–16351
Number of pages11
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number12
Early online date29 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 29 Oct 2018


  • Biomass
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • Hydrogenation
  • Monomers
  • Nanoparticles

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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