Ananda Amarasekara

Ph.D., City University of New York

Contact information:

Room: 230F NSB
Department of Chemistry
Prairie View A&M University
MS 2215
P.O. Box 519
Prairie View, Texas 77446

Phone: 936-261-3107
Fax: 936-261-3117

Areas of interest

  • Biomass based fuels and feedstock chemicals for polymer industry
  • Catalysis
  • Ionic liquids

Current Activities

  • We are currently studying the dissolution and hydrolysis of cellulose and lignocellulosic biomass in Brönsted acidic ionic liquids for the production of fuel ethanol from non-food biomass resources. In 2009 our research group introduced the use of sulfonic acid group functionalized Brönsted acidic ionic liquids for concurrent dissolution and hydrolysis of cellulose under mild conditions. In these experiments cellulose (DP ~ 450) was found to dissolve up to 20% w/w in 1- (1-propylsulfonic)-3-methylimidazolium chloride, and could be hydrolyzed into glucose at 70 °C and atmospheric pressure in excellent yields. Sulfonic acid and metal ion catalyzed degradation of lignocellulosic biomass such as switch grass, and corn stover in aqueous medium at moderate temperature, and pressure is another area of interest. Which involves the use of aryl/alkyl sulfonic acid based catalysts as well as transition metal catalysts for the depolymerization of cellulose and hemicelluloses to fermentable sugars. Furthermore, we are interested in selective dehydration of abundant carbohydrates to produce furan derivatives such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and furfural. Oxidation of HMF using green-chemistry technologies is another area of study, and this involves the development of catalysts for economical and environmentally friendly oxidation methods for the preparation of furan-dialdehyde and furan-dicarboxylic acid from HMF.
  • Secondly our group is involved in the development of next generation polymeric materials from renewable resources based monomers. We are currently studying the synthesis and characterization of novel polymers based on lignocellulosic biomass derived monomers such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) derivatives, furfural, levulinic acid, succinic acid, sebacic acid, azelaic acid, glycerol, and vanillin derivatives.

Selected publications (10 out of ~90 publications)

[1]. Mechanism of 1-(1-propylsulfonic)-3-methylimidazolium chloride catalyzed transformation of D-glucose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural in DMSO: an NMR study. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Ashfaqur Razzaq. Carbohydrate Research, 2014, 386, 86-91.

[2]. Single reactor conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to furanic biocrude oils using sulfonic acid functionalized Brönsted acidic ionic liquid catalysts. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Bernard Wiredu. Biomass Conversion and Biorefinery, 2014, in press. DOI 10.1007/s13399-013-0098-y

[3]. Synthesis of a silica immobilized Brönsted acidic ionic liquid catalyst and hydrolysis of cellulose in water under mild conditions. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Bernard Wiredu. Catalysis Communications, 2014, 48, 41-44.

[4]. Sol–gel synthesis, characterization and water vapor adsorption properties of 1,1′-(1,6-hexanediyl)-bis(imidazolium)dichloride silica hybrid material. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Ashfaqur Razzaq, Robert Caballero, Bernard Wiredu. Journal of Sol-gel Science and Technology, 2014, 69, 345-350.

[5].Degradation of untreated switch grass biomass into reducing sugars in 1-(alkylsulfonic)- 3-methylimidazolium Brönsted acidic ionic liquid medium under mild Conditions. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Preethi Shanbhag. Bioenergy Research, 2013, 6, 719-724.

[6]. A comparison of the use of dilute aqueous p-toluenesulfonic acid and sulfuric acid in single step pretreatment – saccharification of corn stover at moderate temperatures and pressures. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Bernard Wiredu. Bioresources Technology, 2012, 125, 114-118.

[7]. Vanillin based polymers: I. An electrochemical route to polyvanillin. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Bernard Wiredu, Ashfaqur. Razzaq. Green Chemistry, 2012, 14 (9), 2395-2397.

[8]. Degradation of cellulose in dilute aqueous solutions of acidic ionic liquid 1-(1-propylsulfonic)-3-methylimidazolium chloride, and p-toluenesulfonic acid at moderate temperatures and pressures. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Bernard Wiredu. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2011, 50(22), 12276-12280.

[9]. Hydrolysis and Decomposition of Cellulose in Brönsted Acidic Ionic Liquids Under Mild Conditions. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Onome S. Owereh. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2009,48(22), 10152–10155.

[10]. Mechanism of the dehydration of D-fructose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural in dimethylsulfoxide at 150 °C: An NMR study. Ananda S. Amarasekara, LaToya Williams, Chidinma Ebede. Carbohydrate Research, 2008, 343(18), 3021-3024.


Handbook of Cellulosic Ethanol By Ananda S. Amarasekara ISBN: 9781118233009

608 pages | 89 illustrations

Wiley-Scrivener Publishers, 2014


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