New Insights into the Reactivity of Biomass with Butenes for the Synthesis of Butyl Levulinates.

PMID 28464524


This article reports a detailed study on the reactivity of levulinic acid and cellulose with 1-butene and iso-butene for the catalytic formation of sec- and tert-butyl levulinates. The influence of catalyst type and various solvent conditions have been investigated to assess the potential of a sustainable transformation. A very simple and efficient procedure was discovered by using reusable Amberlyst-15 in the absence of solvent to form, from levulinic acid and iso-butene, tert-butyl levulinate (70 % yield), a compound very difficult to prepare by other means. sec-Butyl levulinate (66 % yield) was obtained by using Amberlyst-15 in γ-butyrolactone as a biosourced solvent. The original procedure was also extended notably by directly using cellulose as a reactant. In the presence of a catalytic amount of H2 SO4 , it was possible to form sec-butyl levulinate (19 % yield) from 1-butene in a more efficient way than by using the alcohol as an esterifying agent.

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