Alonso-Fagundez, N.; Laserna, V.; Alba-Rubio, A. C.; Mengibar, M.; Heras, A.; Mariscal, R.; Granados, M. L.
This article reports on the use of poly-(styrene sulphonic acid) (PSSA) prepared by sulphonation of polystryrene waste as catalyst in reactions demanding acid sites. Two different waste derived catalysts (waste to catalyst, WTC) were studied: soluble PSSA (WTC-PSSA) and solid SiO2-PSSA nanocomposite (WTC-SiO2-PSSA). The catalytic properties of these waste derived acid catalysts have been explored in three different reactions of interest in biomass valorization: biodiesel synthesis, xylose dehydration to furfural and furfural oxidation to maleic and succinic acids. The results show that both soluble and nanocomposite WTC catalysts present promising catalytic properties. The WTC-PSSA requires ultrafiltration for reutilization whereas the WTC-SiO2-PSSA can be separated from the reaction mixtures by more usual techniques (centrifugation or conventional filtration). Further research is required for improving the hydrothermal stability of WTC-SiO2-PSSA in order to substantially reduce the leaching of polymer that takes place during the catalytic runs.