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Original Article

Functionalized mesostructured silicas towards efficient conversion of furfuryl alcohol to ethyl levulinate



In this study, we synthesized ethyl levulinate (EL) by alcoholysis of furfuryl alcohol (FAL) with ethanol using two catalysts, SBA-15-SO3H (SHS-15) and SBA-16-SO3H (SHS-16). The catalysts were prepared through the hydrothermal method, and their physical and chemical properties were assessed using various techniques such as small and wide-angle XRD, N2-sorption, SEM, TEM, FTIR, and Py-FTIR. Characterization results showed that SHS-15 possesses a mesoporous structure with a higher surface area and uniform pore size, along with moderate Brønsted acidity. In catalytic activity, both catalysts were tested for converting FAL to EL under moderate reaction conditions. SHS-15 exhibited excellent performance, achieving a yield of 93.9% for ethyl levulinate at 110°C, with a 0.5g catalyst dose, 1g FAL, and 4h reaction time. In contrast, SHS-16 yielded 88.6%, which was lower than SHS-15. These findings highlight the potential of SHS-15 as an effective catalyst for the alcoholysis of FAL into EL under moderate reaction conditions.

Graphical Abstract