Scientists propose a new method of sustainable development

image: Researchers used plant-derived acrylate and acetaldehyde as raw materials to produce PCTA and CHDM
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Credit: DICP

Poly (1,4-cyclohexylene dimethylene terephthalate-co-isophthalate) (PCTA) is an important copolyester that has been widely used in cosmetic containers, household appliances, and medical packaging.

Currently, PCTA is made by polycondensation of cyclohexanedimethanol (CHDM), which is produced industrially from petroleum-derived xylene. To reduce dependence on fossil fuels, it is necessary to develop a more sustainable alternative.

Recently, a research team led by Prof. ZHANG Tao, Prof. WANG Aiqin and Prof. LI Ning, in collaboration with the group of Prof. WANG Feng, of the Dalian Institute of Chemical Physics (DICP) of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (CAS) developed a sustainable route for the production of copolyester monomers with biomass.

This study was published in Angewandte Chemie international edition November 30.

In this study, the researchers used plant-based acrylate and acetaldehyde as raw materials and produced PCTA monomer in an overall yield of 61%. The whole process included the Morita-Baylis-Hillman reaction (MBH), one-step dehydration / Diels-Alder reaction, and the final Pd / C catalyzed dehydrogenation.

In addition, they modified the final hydrogenation step over a Pd / C-Cu / Zn / Al double bed catalyst and produced UNOXOLMT diol, which is another important monomer in the coatings industry, with an overall yield of 67%.

In addition, the life cycle assessment implied that the new biomass-based roads had the potential to reduce the carbon footprint.

“This study opens a new avenue for the production of renewable PCTA and also provides a new direction for the conversion of biomass,” said Professor LI.

This work was supported by the Natural Science Foundation of China and the Common Fund of Yulin University and Dalian National Laboratory for Clean Energy.


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