CSP researchers have developed a method to produce 1,3-butadiene (1,3-BD), a key component in rubber and elastomers, from renewable sources. They utilized a specialized catalyst composed of zeolite, a type of material, to convert tetrahydrofuran (THF) into 1,3-BD. The study aimed to understand the functioning of different catalyst variations. The researchers examined catalysts modified with three types of acids: Boric (B), Phosphoric (P), and Sulfuric (S). These catalysts demonstrated varying levels of efficacy in converting THF into 1,3-BD, with the Sulfuric acid-modified catalyst proving the most efficient.
Through computational simulations, insights were gained into how THF interacts with the acid sites of each catalyst type. Additionally, it was discovered that the inclusion of a water molecule could enhance the process, particularly with the Sulfuric acid-modified catalyst. Overall, the findings suggest that catalysts containing sulfur hold promise for the sustainable production of 1,3-BD from renewable sources, offering an environmentally friendly alternative for the synthesis of crucial materials like rubber.
The full paper is available on RSC Green Chemistry.