University of Delaware

Scientific Research Thrusts and Enabling Technologies

Sugars to Furans

Converting sugars to high-value intermediates.

CCEI introduced an iconic technology for the isomerization of aldoses to ketoses production via Sn-beta zeolite and other related heterogeneous and homogeneous Lewis acid catalysts in water and demonstrated that this technology is broadly applicable to the conversion of C6 and C5 sugars. Researchers discovered the first single-pot process that combines heterogeneous Lewis acidity with Bronsted acidity to carry out isomerization and dehydration reactions for the production of C6 and C5 furans and developed intrinsic kinetics, reaction mechanisms, and fundamental models for these processes. In addition, we introduced various novel processes (e.g., reactive adsorption) and chemistries (e.g., combination of isomerization with dehydration and etherification) toward the production of fuels and chemicals.