Project 5:
Value-added products from catalytic conversion of carbohydrate feed streams

Main ideas and research focus for catalytic conversion

Recent results have shown that direct catalytic conversion of sugars in methanol can produce smaller C2-C4 products such as methyl lactate and methyl vinylglycolate in good yield. While methyl lactate has a negligible world market, the derived products such as lactide, lactic acid and polylactic acid have a rapidly growing market, presently 1⁄4 million Mt with kg prices averaging DKK 20/kg. In addition, the development will lead to new primary products such as solid state catalysts for the world market.

The project includes development of new processes based on ground-breaking catalytic processes developed by members of the team. Also, it will provide basic understanding of the involved processes, providing the foundation for developing new efficient catalysts and process conditions.

Was BioValue worth the investment? – Yes indeed, said Haldor Topsøe:

Read the article in DI Business on what Haldor Topsøe perceives as the outcome of the platform


  1. Develop novel catalytic processes for the chemical conversion of carbohydrate streams into value-added products including methyl lactate.
  2. Develop new catalytic materials for direct catalytic conversion of sugars.
  3. Study of the migration of carbon atoms in the sugars and other mechanistic aspects
    during catalytic conversion.

Publications in project 5:

Shunmugavel, S., Tosi, I., Rasmussen, K., Jensen, R., Taarning, E., Meier, S., Riisager, A. 2017: Facile and Benign Conversion of Sucrose to Fructose Using Zeolites With Balanced Brønsted and Lewis Acidity. Catal. Sci. Technol., 2017, DOI: 10.1039/C7CY00540G

Elliot, S.G.; Andersen, C.; Tolborg, S.; Meier, S.; Sádaba, I.; Daugaard A. E.; Taarning, E.: Synthesis of a Novel Polyester Building Block from Pentoses by Tin-containing Silicates. RSC Adv., 2017, 7, 985.

Yakimov, A.V.; Kolyagin, Y.G.; Tolborg, S.;  Vennestrøm, P.N.R.; Ivanova, I.I.: 119Sn MAS NMR Study of Probe Molecules Interaction with Sn-BEA: The Origin of Penta- and Hexacoordinated Tin Formation. J. Phys. Chem. C, 2016, 120 (49), pp 28083–28092.

S. Tolborg, A. Katerinopoulou, D. D. Falcone, I. Sádaba, C. M. Osmundsen, R. J. Davis, E. Taarning, P. Fristrup and M. S. Holm: Incorporation of tin affects crystallization, morphology, and crystal composition of Sn-Beta, Journal of Materials Chemistry A (RSC Publishing), October 2014, DOI: 10.1039/C4TA05119J

Tolborg, S.;  Sádaba, I.; Osmundsen, C.M.; Fristrup, P.; Holm, M.S.; Taarning, E.: Tin-containing Silicates: Alkali Salts Improve Methyl Lactate Yield from Sugars, ChemSusChem, February 2015, Volume 8, Issue 4, pages 613–617. 

Tolborg, S.; Meier, S.; Sádaba, I.; Elliot, S. G.; Kristensen, S. K.; Saravanamurugan, S.; Riisager, A.; Fristrup, P.; Skrydstrup, T.; Taarning, E.: Tin-containing silicates: identification of a glycolytic pathway via 3-deoxyglucosone. Green Chemistry, DOI: 10.1039/C5GC02840J

Kolyagin, Y. G.; Yakimov, A. V.; Tolborg, S.; Vennestrøm, P. N. R.; Ivanova, I. I.: Application of 119Sn CPMG MAS NMR for Fast Characterization of SnSites in Zeolites with Natural 119Sn Isotope Abundance. The Journal of Physical Chemistry Letters, 2016,  Volume 7 , Pages 1249–1253

Yakimov, A. V.; Kolyagin, Y. G.;  Tolborg, S.; Vennestrøm, P. N. R.; Ivanova, I. I.: Accelerated synthesis of Sn-BEA in fluoride media: effect of H2O content in the gel. New J. Chem., 2016, volume 40, pages 4367-4374

Tolborg, S., Meier, S., Saravanamurugan, S., Fristrup, P., Taarning, E. and Sádaba, I. (2016), Shape-selective Valorization of Biomass-derived Glycolaldehyde using Tin-containing Zeolites. ChemSusChem. doi:10.1002/cssc.201600757