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 Brönsted acidic ionic liquid catalyzed hydrolysis of cellulose and lignocellulosic biomass for the production of biofuels and renewable feedstock chemicals 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. Brönsted acidic ionic liquid and metal ion catalyzed degradation of lignocellulosic biomass forms like switch grass and corn stover in aqueous medium at moderate temperature and pressure is another area of interest. Furthermore, we are interested in selective dehydration of abundant carbohydrates to produce furan derivatives such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and further transformations to hydrocarbon type 3rd generation biofuels as well as feedstock chemicals. Oxidation of HMF using green chemistry technologies is another area of study, involving the development of catalysts and environmentally friendly oxidation methods for the preparation of furan-dialdehyde and furan-dicarboxylic acid from HMF.
  • Secondly our group is interested in the development of next generation polymeric materials from renewable resources based monomers. We are currently studying the synthesis of novel polymers based on renewable feedstocks such as levulinic acid, succinic acid, glycerol, lactic acid, HMF, and vanillin.

Selected publications (total  ~ 110 publications)

  1. Acidic ionic liquids.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara.
    Chemical Reviews, 2016, 116, 6133-6183.
  1. Chemocatalytic Hydrolysis of Cellulose at 37 °C, 1 Atm.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara and Bernard Wiredu.
    Catalysis Science and Technology, 2016, 6, 426-429.
  1. Acid catalyzed condensation of levulinic acid with glyoxylic acid: Synthesis of 1-methyl- 2,8-dioxabicyclo[3.3.0]oct-4-ene-3,7-dione.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara and Uyen Ha.
    Tetrahedron Letters, 2016, 57, 2598-2600.
  1. Acid catalyzed competitive esterification and ketalization of levulinic acid with 1,2 and 1,3- diols: The effect of heterogeneous and homogeneous catalysts.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara and  Moriam  A. Animashaun.
    Catalysis Letters, 2016, 146(9), 1819-1824. 
  1. A two step method for the preparation of carbamate cross-linked cellulose films using an  ionic liquid and their water retention properties.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara, Muhammad A. Hasan, and Uyen Ha.
    Carbohydrate Polymers, 2016,  154, 8-12.        
  1. The effect of manganese(II)chloride as a co-catalyst on cellobiose hydrolysis in dilute aqueous sulfuric acid and acidic ionic liquid mediums.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara and Bernard Wiredu.
    Catalysis Communications, 2016, 81, 41-44.
  1. Interactions of D-cellobiose with selected chloride salts: a 13C NMR and FT-IR study.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara and Bernard Wiredu.
    Spectrochimica Acta Part A: Molecular and Biomolecular Spectroscopy,  2016, 159, 113–116.
  1. Vanillin based polymers: III. Electrochemical dimerization of vanillin revisited and synthesis of hydrovanilloin-formaldehyde polymer.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara,  Muhammad Hasan.
    Polymer Science Series B:Polymer, 2016, 58(3), 307-312.
  1. The effect of Zeolites on acidic ionic liquid catalyzed one-pot conversion of cellulose to ethyl levulinate and levulinic acid in aqueous ethanol.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara, Julie N. Dominguez , Bernard Wiredu.
    Current Catalysis, 2015, 4(2), 143-151.
  1. The effect of metal ions as co-catalysts on 1-(1-propylsulfonic)-3-methylimidazolium chloride acidic ionic liquid catalyzed hydrolysis of cellulose in water.
    Bernard Wiredu and Ananda S. Amarasekara.
    Catalysis Communications2015, 70, 82-85.
  1. The effect of metal ions as co-catalysts on acidic ionic liquid catalyzed single-step saccharification of corn stover in water.
    Bernard Wiredu and Ananda S. Amarasekara.
    Bioresource Technology, 2015, 189, 405-408.
  1. Synthesis and pyrolysis of selected metal levulinates.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara, Dominique T. Sterling-Wells.
    BioEnergy Research, 2015, 8(4), 1956-1961.
  1. Acidic ionic liquid catalyzed liquefaction of cellulose in ethylene glycol; identification of a new cellulose derived cyclopentenone derivative.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara and Bernard Wiredu.
    Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, 2015, 54, 824-831
  1. g-Valerolactone from pyrolysis of calcium salts of levulinic-formic acid mixtures derived from cellulose.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara, Bernard Wiredu, Dre'Langala N. Edwards.
    Biomass and Bioenergy, 2015, 72, 39-44 .
  1. Pd/C catalyzed conversion of levulinic acid to g-valerolactone using alcohol as a hydrogen donor under microwave conditions.
    Ananda S. Amarasekara,  Muhammad A. Hasan.
    Catalysis Communications2015, 60, 5-7.

Book: Handbook of Cellulosic Ethanol

By Ananda S. Amarasekara
ISBN: 9781118233009, 608 pages | 89 illustrations, Wiley-Scrivener Publishers, 2014

Ananda Amarasekara