Highly Efficient Biobased Synthesis of Acrylic Acid

Johannes G.H. Hermens, Andries Jensma, Ben L. Feringa*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
44 Downloads (Pure)


Petrochemical based polymers, paints and coatings are cornerstones of modern industry but our future sustainable society demands greener processes and renewable feedstock materials. A challenge is to access platform monomers from biomass resources while integrating the principles of green chemistry in their chemical synthesis. We present a synthesis route starting from biomass-derived furfural towards the commonly used monomers maleic anhydride and acrylic acid, implementing environmentally benign photooxygenation, aerobic oxidation and ethenolysis reactions. Maleic anhydride and acrylic acid, transformed into sodium acrylate, were isolated in yields of 85 % (2 steps) and 81 % (4 steps), respectively. With minimal waste and high atom efficiency, this biobased route provides a viable alternative to access key monomers.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere202112618
Number of pages6
JournalAngewandte Chemie - International Edition
Issue number4
Early online date16-Nov-2021
Publication statusPublished - 21-Jan-2022


  • acrylic acid
  • biobased polymers
  • furfural
  • maleic anhydride
  • sustainability

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