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Chem Soc Rev. 2016 Feb 7;45(3):584-611. doi: 10.1039/c5cs00859j.

Potential and challenges of zeolite chemistry in the catalytic conversion of biomass.

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Centre for Surface Chemistry and Catalysis, Faculty of Bioscience Engineering, KU Leuven, Celestijnenlaan 200f, B-3001, Heverlee, Belgium.


Increasing demand for sustainable chemicals and fuels has pushed academia and industry to search for alternative feedstocks replacing crude oil in traditional refineries. As a result, an immense academic attention has focused on the valorisation of biomass (components) and derived intermediates to generate valuable platform chemicals and fuels. Zeolite catalysis plays a distinct role in many of these biomass conversion routes. This contribution emphasizes the progress and potential in zeolite catalysed biomass conversions and relates these to concepts established in existing petrochemical processes. The application of zeolites, equipped with a variety of active sites, in Brønsted acid, Lewis acid, or multifunctional catalysed reactions is discussed and generalised to provide a comprehensive overview. In addition, the feedstock shift from crude oil to biomass involves new challenges in developing fields, like mesoporosity and pore interconnectivity of zeolites and stability of zeolites in liquid phase. Finally, the future challenges and perspectives of zeolites in the processing of biomass conversion are discussed.

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