Our recent research work,“A new 3D mesoporous carbon replicated from commercial silica as a catalyst support for direct conversion of cellulose into ethylene glycol”, has been published on the Chemical Communications (2010, 46, 862-864).
Cellulose is being considered as a promising alternative to fossil resources for the sustainable supply of fuel and chemicals. Our group has been engaging in the research of the direct catalytic conversion of cellulose into valuable chemicals. In our previous work, we tried for the first time to use low-cost tungsten carbide catalysts for the conversion of cellulose into polyols. It was found that tungsten carbide, when supported on an activated carbon carrier, exhibited an extra high selectivity to glycol. Especially, when small amount of nickel was added as a promoter, the selectivity to glycol could be as high as 61% (Angew. Chem. Int. Ed. 2008, 47, 8510-8513；Catal. Today 2009, 147, 77-85; ChemSusChem 2010, 3, 63-66). In this work, we prepared a new 3D mesoporous carbon by replicating from commercial silica and employed it as a support for W2C in the catalytic conversion of cellulose. The new mesoporous carbon facilitates not only the dispersion of tungsten carbide but also the transport of reactant and product molecules, thus leading to an excellent selectivity to ethylene glycol, up to ~ 73 %.