Carbon-Increasing Catalytic Strategies for Upgrading Biomass into Energy-Intensive Fuels and Chemicals

Hu Li, Anders Riisager, Shunmugavel Saravanamurugan, Ashok Pandey, Rajender S. Sangwan, Song Yang, Rafael Luque

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Lignocellulosic biomass is the most abundant organic carbon source and has received a great deal of interest as renewable and sustainable feedstock for the production of potential biofuels and value-added chemicals with a wide range of designed catalytic systems. However, those natural polymeric materials are composed of short-chain monomers (typically C6 and C5 sugars) and complex lignin molecules containing plenty of oxygen, resulting in products during the downstream processing having low-grade fuel properties or limited applications in organic syntheses. Accordingly, approaches to increase the carbon-chain length or carbon atom number have been developed as crucial catalytic routes for upgrading biomass into energy-intensive fuels and chemicals. The primary focus of this review is to systematically describe the recent examples on the selective synthesis of long-chain oxygenates via different C-C coupling catalytic processes, such as Aldol condensation, hydroalkylation/alkylation, oligomerization, ketonization, Diels-Alder, Guerbet and acylation reactions. Other integrated reaction steps including e.g., hydrolysis, dehydration, oxidation, partial hydrogenation and hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) to derive corresponding key intermediates or final products are also reviewed. The effects of catalyst structure/type and reaction parameters on the catalytic performance along with relevant reaction mechanisms are in detail discussed. Apart from this, the formation of other useful compounds containing C-X bonds (X = O, N and S) derived from biomass-based substrates for producing fuel additives and valuable chemicals is also briefly reviewed.
Original languageEnglish
JournalA C S Catalysis
Pages (from-to)148-187
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Biomass conversion
  • Catalytic materials
  • C−C coupling
  • Heterogeneous catalysis
  • High-quality biofuels


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