“Renewable production of phthalic anhydride from biomass-derived furan and maleic anhydride”

Eyas Mahmoud

The renewable production of chemicals and fuels from biomass is inherently difficult due to competing side reactions. Eyas Mahmoud and Raul Lobo at the CCST have recently demonstrated the selective production of phthalic anhydride, a chemical used for the manufacture of plasticizers, unsaturated polyesters, and resins in the millions of tonnes per year, from biomass by using mixed sulfonic-carboxylic anhydrides as reaction intermediates. The reaction starts by the Diels-Arder reaction of maleic anhydride and furan, and the product is effectively dehydrated by the mixed anhydrides. This result opens the door to the possibility of production of ‘green’ phthalic anhydride from renewable sources.

 

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