The growing interest in the biomass valorization increased the demand for heterogeneous catalysts able to convert its derivatives, usually bulky molecules that have high boiling points and the necessity of a solvent in the reaction. Zeolites are already used widely in biomass conversion, advantageous characteristics arise from them as acid catalysts for these processes: as shape selectivity, adjustable porosity (mesoporosity insertion) and tuneable acidity. The Microporous and Mesoporous Molecular Sieves Group has been applying the layered solids in these reactions as acid catalysts, as well, considering the advantages of improved accessibility thanks to the interlamellar space presente in these materials. However, the acidity of these catalysts in aqueous media is still unclear. Thus, the interaction of water molecules and the catalyst must be considered, which does not occur in the traditional acidity characterization methods, since these measurements are made in gas phase. The influence of water in the reaction medium and in the surface of the catalyst is still a challenge to be overcome by the scientific community. This project proposes the development of a method to characterize the acidity of zeolites and layered solids in aqueous media, considering the contribution of water. The study of the solvent interaction with the acid sites of the catalysts will be carried out using in-situ characterization techniques.
News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship: