Renewable Isoprene by Sequential Hydrogenation of Itaconic Acid and Dehydra-Decyclization of 3-Methyl-Tetrahydrofuran

Omar A. Abdelrahman, Dae Sung Park, Katherine P. Vinter, Charles S. Spanjers, Limin Ren, Hong Je Cho, Kechun Zhang, Wei Fan, Michael Tsapatsis, Paul J. Dauenhauer

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Catalytic hydrogenation of itaconic acid (obtained from glucose fermentation) yields 3-methyl-tetrahydrofuran (3-MTHF), which then undergoes catalytic dehydra-decyclization to isoprene. It is demonstrated that a one-pot cascade reaction converts itaconic acid to 3-MTHF at ∼80% yield with Pd-Re/C catalyst and 1000 psig H2. Subsequent gas-phase catalytic ring opening and dehydration of 3-MTHF with phosphorus-containing zeolites including P-BEA, P-MFI, and P-SPP (self-pillared pentasil) exhibits 90% selectivity to dienes (70% isoprene, 20% pentadienes) at 20-25% conversion.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1428-1431
Number of pages4
JournalACS Catalysis
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 3 2017



  • hydrogenation
  • isoprene
  • itaconic acid
  • phosphorus
  • zeolite

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