Zeolite H-USY for the production of lactic acid and methyl lactate from C-3-sugars

R.M. West, Martin Spangsberg Holm, Saravanamurugan Shunmugavel, Jianmin Xiong, Z. Beversdorf, E. Taarning, C.H. Christensen

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Lactic acid is an interesting platform chemical with many promising applications. This includes the use as a building block for the production of biodegradable plastics and environmentally friendly solvents. A study of the liquid-phase conversion of the triose-sugars, glyceraldehyde and dihydroxyacetone directly to methyl lactate and lactic acid catalyzed by inexpensive commercially available zeolites is presented. One particular zeolite, H-USY (Si/Al = 6) is shown to be quite active with near quantitative yields for this isomerization. Deactivation of the H-USY-zeolite was studied by correlating the catalytic activity to data obtained by TPO, XRD, N-2-sorption, and NH3-TPD on fresh and used catalysts. Coking and irreversible framework damage occurs when lactic acid is produced under aqueous conditions. In methanol, methyl lactate is produced and catalyst deactivation is suppressed. Additionally, reaction rates for the formation of methyl lactate in methanol are almost an order of magnitude higher as compared to the rate of lactic acid formation in water.
Original languageEnglish
JournalJournal of Catalysis
Issue number1
Pages (from-to)122-130
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Triose sugar
  • Dihydroxyacetone
  • Methyl lactate
  • Zeolite
  • Lactic acid
  • Glyceraldehyde
  • H-USY
  • Deactivation
  • Biomass


Dive into the research topics of 'Zeolite H-USY for the production of lactic acid and methyl lactate from C-3-sugars'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this