Shape-selective Valorization of Biomass-derived Glycolaldehyde using Tin-containing Zeolites

Søren Tolborg, Sebastian Meier, Saravanamurugan Shunmugavel, Peter Fristrup, Esben Taarning, Irantzu Sádaba

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


A highly selective self-condensation of glycolaldehyde to different C4 molecules has been achieved using Lewis acidic stannosilicate catalysts in water at moderate temperatures (40–100 °C). The medium-sized zeolite pores (10-membered ring framework) in Sn-MFI facilitate the formation of tetrose sugars while hindering consecutive aldol reactions leading to hexose sugars. High yields of tetrose sugars (74 %) with minor amounts of vinyl glycolic acid (VGA), an α-hydroxyacid, are obtained using Sn-MFI with selectivities towards C4 products reaching 97 %. Tin catalysts having large pores or no pore structure (Sn-Beta, Sn-MCM-41, Sn-SBA-15, tin chloride) led to lower selectivities for C4 sugars due to formation of hexose sugars. In the case of Sn-Beta, VGA is the main product (30 %), illustrating differences in selectivity of the Sn sites in the different frameworks. Under optimized conditions, GA can undergo further conversion, leading to yields of up to 44 % of VGA using Sn-MFI in water. The use of Sn-MFI offers multiple possibilities for valorization of biomass-derived GA in water under mild conditions selectively producing C4 molecules.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number21
Pages (from-to)3054–3061
Number of pages9
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Aldol condensation
  • Biomass conversion
  • Tetrose sugars
  • Tin
  • Zeolites

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Shape-selective Valorization of Biomass-derived Glycolaldehyde using Tin-containing Zeolites'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this