Title: Acidic graphene organocatalyst for the superior transformation of wastes into high-added-value chemicals

Authors: Aby Cheruvathoor Poulose, Miroslav Medveď, Vasudeva Rao Bakuru, Akashdeep Sharma, Deepika Singh, Suresh Babu Kalidindi, Hugo Bares, Michal Otyepka, Kolleboyina Jayaramulu, Aristides Bakandritsos & Radek Zbořil

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1038/s41467-023-36602-0

Date: 09/18/2023

Working Group: WG3

Grant Period: GP1

Grant Period Goal (number): GAPG-4

Covered deliverables from the MoU (number): 5

Countries involved: Czech Republic, Slovakia, India, France

Number of female/young/ITC coauthors: 2/2/5

Abstract: Our dependence on finite fossil fuels and the insecure energy supply chains have stimulated intensive research for sustainable technologies. Upcycling
glycerol, produced from biomass fermentation and as a biodiesel formation byproduct, can substantially contribute in circular carbon economy. Here, we
report glycerol’s solvent-free and room-temperature conversion to high added-value chemicals via a reusable graphene catalyst (G-ASA), functionalized
with a natural amino acid (taurine). Theoretical studies unveil that the superior performance of the catalyst (surpassing even homogeneous, industrial
catalysts) is associated with the dual role of the covalently linked taurine, boosting the catalyst’s acidity and affinity for the reactants. Unlike previous
catalysts, G-ASA exhibits excellent activity (7508 mmol g−1 h−1) and selectivity (99.9%) for glycerol conversion to solketal, an additive for improving fuels’
quality and a precursor of commodity and fine chemicals. Notably, the catalyst is also particularly active in converting oils to biodiesel, demonstrating its
general applicability.


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