Biomass based fuels and feedstock chemicals for polymer industry
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 ~75 publications)
. Aryl sulfonic acid catalyzed hydrolysis of cellulose in water. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Bernard Wiredu. Applied Catalysis A-General, 2012, 417-418, 259- 262.
. Synthesis and characterization of branched polymeric ionic liquids with imidazolium chloride segments. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Brandon Callis, Bernard Wiredu. Polymer Bulletin, 2012, 68(4), 901-908.
. Brönsted acidic ionic liquid 1-(1-propylsulfonic)-3-methylimidazolium chloride Catalyzed hydrolysis of D-cellobiose in aqueous medium. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Bernard Wiredu. International Journal of Carbohydrate Chemistry, 2012,In press.
. Interactions of D-cellobiose with p-toluenesulfonic acid in aqueous solution: a 13C-NMR Study. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Onome S. Owereh, and Brian Ezeh Carbohydrate Research.2011, 346(17), 2820-2822.
. 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.
. Synthesis of Levulinic acid-Glycerol Ketal-Ester Oligomers and Structural characterization using NMR Spectroscopy. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Steven Hawkins. European Polymer Journal 2011, 47(12), 2451-2457.
. Synthesis and characterization of polymeric ionic liquid poly(imidazolium chloride-1,3-diylbutane-1,4-diyl). Ananda S. Amarasekara, Preethi Shanbhag. Polymer Bulletin, 2011, 67(4), 623-629.
. Thermal properties of sulfonic acid group functionalized Brönsted acidic ionic liquids. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Onome S. Owereh. Journal of Thermal Analysis and Calorimetry. 2011,103(3), 1027-1030.
. Synthesis of a sulfonic acid functionalized acidic ionic liquid modified silica catalyst and applications in the hydrolysis of cellulose. Ananda S. Amarasekara, Onome S. Owereh. Catalysis Communications, 2010, 11(13), 1072-1075.
. 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.
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