Building: Sammelbau Chemie
Room: 38C 330
Biomass represents a promising alternative to fossil resources. An abundant biopolymer is chitin, which can be obtained from the shell waste of crustaceans. Additionally, chitin is found in insects and fungi. Chitin consists of acetylglucosamine units (GlcNAc) and differs from cellulose only in having one acetamide group instead of a hydroxyl group. Due to the acetamide group, chitin contains nitrogen atoms and is therefore a potential feedstock for the production of organonitrogen compounds. This avoids the use of ammonia, which is produced in the energy-intensive Haber-Bosch process.
Chitin can be fragmented by hydrolysis into the GlcNAc units, which are insoluble in most organic solvents due to the presence of many hydroxyl groups. Thus, their use in organic reactions is limited. Therefore, the goal is to convert them into compounds with better solubility. For this purpose zeolites should be used as acidic heterogeneous catalysts.