Study of glucose isomerisation to fructose over three heterogeneous carbon-based aluminium-impregnated catalysts

Xinni Xiong, Iris K.M. Yu, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Liang Chen, Zhishan Su, Changwei Hu, Gang Luo, Shicheng Zhang, Yong Sik Ok, James H. Clark

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Driven by the worldwide demand for sustainable resources and renewable energy, the synthesis of bio-based platform chemicals has attracted broad interest. The isomerisation of glucose to fructose acts as a critical intermediate step among many chemical synthesis routes. In this study, biochar (BC), graphitic oxide (GIO), and graphene oxide (GO) were used as carbon supports to synthesize Al-impregnated heterogeneous catalysts, which were then used for glucose isomerisation under microwave heating in the water at 140 °C. The kinetics model with parameters was used to reveal the interplay of the active sites and compare the activity of the three carbon-based catalysis systems. Catalyst characterisation results showed effective aluminium (Al) impregnation onto the three types of catalysts, and it was found that GIO-Al200 and GO-Al200 showed comparable catalytic activity (fructose yield of 34.3–35.0%) for glucose isomerisation. At the same time, BC-Al200 exhibited slightly lower catalytic activity (fructose yield of 29.4%). The conversion kinetics suggested similar catalytic mechanisms on the three catalysts while BC-Al200 manifested slower kinetics, possibly implying higher activation energy. The fructose selectivity decreased with increasing time due to the formation of side products, yet BC-Al200 resulted in less carbon loss than GIO-Al200 and GO-Al200, probably attributed to its lower catalytic activity and higher pH buffering capacity. A green synthesis route of this study promotes biomass valorisation and makes engineered biochar a promising carbon-based catalyst for sustainable biorefinery.

Original languageEnglish
Article number122378
JournalJournal of Cleaner Production
Publication statusPublished - 20 Sept 2020


  • Biomass valorisation
  • Engineered biochar
  • Glucose isomerisation
  • Graphene oxide
  • Sustainable biorefinery
  • Waste management

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Environmental Science(all)
  • Strategy and Management
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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