Biomass has the potential to serve as a sustainable source of energy and organic carbon for our industrialized society. The focus of this Review is to present an overview of chemical catalytic transformations of biomass-derived oxygenated feedstocks (primarily sugars and sugar-alcohols) in the liquid phase to value-added chemicals and fuels, with specific examples emphasizing the development of catalytic processes based on an understanding of the fundamental reaction chemistry. The key reactions involved in the processing of biomass are hydrolysis, dehydration, isomerization, aldol condensation, reforming, hydrogenation, and oxidation. Further, it is discussed how ideas based on fundamental chemical and catalytic concepts lead to strategies for the control of reaction pathways and process conditions to produce H2/CO2 or H2/CO gas mixtures by aqueous-phase reforming, to produce furan compounds by selective dehydration of carbohydrates, and to produce liquid alkanes by the combination of aldol condensation and dehydration/hydrogenation processes.
Available at: http://works.bepress.com/george_huber/31/