Mesoporous sulfonic acid silicas for pyrolysis bio-oil upgrading via acetic acid esterification

Jinesh C. Manayil, Carlos V.M. Inocencio, Adam F. Lee*, Karen Wilson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Propylsulfonic acid derivatised SBA-15 catalysts have been prepared by post modification of SBA-15 with mercaptopropyltrimethoxysilane (MPTMS) for the upgrading of a model pyrolysis bio-oil via acetic acid esterification with benzyl alcohol in toluene. Acetic acid conversion and the rate of benzyl acetate production was proportional to the PrSO3H surface coverage, reaching a maximum for a saturation adlayer. Turnover frequencies for esterification increase with sulfonic acid surface density, suggesting a cooperative effect of adjacent PrSO3H groups. Maximal acetic acid conversion was attained under acid-rich conditions with aromatic alcohols, outperforming Amberlyst or USY zeolites, with additional excellent water tolerance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1387-1394
Number of pages8
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number5
Early online date9 Oct 2015
Publication statusPublished - 7 Mar 2016

Bibliographical note

This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence.

Funding: EPSRC (EP/K000616/2, EP/G007594/4 and EP/K014749/1 and a Leadership Fellowship); Royal Society for an Industry Fellowship; and European Union 7FP (FP7/2007–2013) grant 604307.


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