Sustainable Synthesis of Oxalic and Succinic Acid through Aerobic Oxidation of C6 Polyols Under Mild Conditions

Maria Ventura, David Williamson, Francesco Lobefaro, Matthew D. Jones, Davide Mattia, Francesco Nocito, Michele Aresta, Angela Dibenedetto

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The sustainable chemical industry encompasses a shift from the use of fossil carbon to renewable carbon. The synthesis of chemicals from nonedible biomass (cellulosic or oil) represents one of the key steps for “greening” the chemical industry. In this paper, we report the aerobic oxidative cleavage of C6 polyols (5-HMF, glucose, fructose and sucrose) to oxalic acid (OA) and succinic acid (SA) in water under mild conditions using M@CNT and M@NCNT (M=Fe, V; CNT=carbon nanotubes; NCNT=N-doped CNT), which, under suitable conditions, were recoverable and reusable without any loss of efficiency. The influence of the temperature, O 2 pressure (P (Formula presented.)), reaction time and stirring rate are discussed and the best reaction conditions are determined for an almost complete conversion of the starting material and a good OA yield of 48 %. SA and formic acid were the only co-products. The former could be further converted into OA by oxidation in the presence of formic acid, resulting in an overall OA yield of >62 %. This process was clean and did not produce organic waste nor gas emissions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1073-1081
Number of pages9
Issue number6
Early online date16 Jan 2018
Publication statusPublished - 22 Mar 2018


  • 5-HMF
  • Aerobic oxidation
  • Biomass
  • Carbon nanotubes
  • Glucose

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Energy(all)


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