Thermal Cracking of Sugars for the Production of Glycolaldehyde and other Small Oxygenates

Christian Bækhøj Schandel, Martin Høj, Christian M. Osmundsen, Anker Degn Jensen, Esben Taarning*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review

33 Downloads (Pure)


Thermal cracking of sugars for production of glycolaldehyde, a potential renewable platform molecule, in yields up to 74% with up to 95% carbon recovered in the condensed product was demonstrated using glucose as the feed. The process involves spraying an aqueous sugar solution into a fluidized bed of glass beads. Continuous operation was shown for more than 90 hours with complete conversion and stable product selectivity. Besides glycolaldehyde, the other identified condensed products were pyruvaldehyde (9%), formaldehyde (7%), glyoxal (2%), acetol (2%) and acetic acid (1%). The effects of temperature, glucose feed concentration and type of sugar feedstock were investigated. Cracking the monosaccharides fructose and xylose showed very different product distributions from glucose, but similar carbon recovery. A reaction network in agreement with the main observed products from cracking of monosaccharide sugars is suggested.
Original languageEnglish
Issue number4
Pages (from-to)688-692
Publication statusPublished - 2020

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Thermal Cracking of Sugars for the Production of Glycolaldehyde and other Small Oxygenates'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this