CORDIS - EU research results

Thermocatalytic conversion of Cellulosic biomass to Furan-2,5-dicarboxylic acid (FDCA) over Single-atom based catalyst

Project description

A sustainable route to FDCA production

The organic chemical compound 2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) offers exciting opportunities to create a wide range of polymers including polyesters, polyamides and polyurethanes. It can be used as a replacement for the petroleum-based monomers terephthalic acid and adipic acid. The EU-funded Cell2Carbox project aims to make FDCA production less expensive and more eco-friendly. It will use cellulosic biomass as a feedstock, which is the most abundantly available raw material on Earth. Single-atom catalysts will be used for biomass conversion. This catalysis approach provides a promising solution to improve the traditional chemical conversion process and decrease its cost. Moreover, compared with traditional catalysts, the single-atom catalyst is characterised by higher activity, selectivity and stability.


Furan-2,5-dicarboxylic acid (FDCA) is a biobased product and an important chemical building block. It has a huge potential as a substitute for a variety of petrochemicals, such as terephthalic acid and adipic acid. It is highly important for the pharma industry as it is being used in biopolymer industries to make polyesters, polyurethanes, and polyamides. Currently, avantium process is the only established industrial process consisting of the catalytic dehydration of carbohydrates to alkoxymethylfurfural (RMF) which is further oxidized to the sodium salt of FDCA using homogenous catalytic system. Using the homogeneous catalytic system for oxidation process followed by the alkaline solution for separation process makes the process more expensive and less eco-friendly. However, base-free systems lead to low yield and selectivity, therefore extensive research is required for exploring a new heterogenous catalytic system. Direct utilization of cellulosic biomass as a feedstock over the multifunctional heterogeneous catalytic system will improve the economic feasibility with optimized production technologies, as these are abundantly available at a low cost. I will achieve this goal by designing a multifunctional catalyst with the combined effect of acid, base and metal sites as a single atomic site. Cell2Carbox project aims to develop unique and sustainable catalytic processes for FDCA production from an inexpensive and highly abundant cellulosic biomass using multifunctional heterogeneous SACs (Single-atom based catalyst) system. Besides, the project comprises a program for my professional growth by training-through-research in heterogeneous catalysis and for the development of complementary skills. Strengthened by this experience, I will become independent expert in the process development for biomass valorization, as of major scientific importance in the coming decades as it is postulated in the EU Vision The circular bio-society in 2050.

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Net EU contribution
€ 162 040,32
1000 Ljubljana

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Slovenija Zahodna Slovenija Osrednjeslovenska
Activity type
Research Organisations
Total cost
€ 162 040,32