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Cellulose to Alkane

  1. Dec 12, 2009 #1
    I'm just curious, what would the process be if someone wanted to change cellulose into an alkane? (I don't plan to try it. If I wanted an alkane then I could just go to the gas station.)
  2. jcsd
  3. Dec 13, 2009 #2


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    Can't quite be done really. (in any manner cost efficient enough to be sensible) Cellulose is just a (very branched) sugar chain, so you don't have any individual carbon chains longer than the 6 in glucose, and each of those has a hydroxo group on it, meaning you'd have to reduce that to get an alkane.

    For fuel purposes, cellulosic ethanol is where it's at.
  4. Dec 15, 2009 #3


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    Last edited by a moderator: Apr 24, 2017
  5. Dec 16, 2009 #4
    I have conducted experiments in which I have successfully converted cellulose into glucose. If you wanted an alkane, in theory, you could oxidize all the -OH of glucose to their respective aldehydes or ketones and treat them with hydrazine/KOH (Wolff-Kishner Reduction) to replace all C=O with H-C-H
  6. Dec 16, 2009 #5
    How did you hydrate the cellulose?
  7. Dec 16, 2009 #6
    Mechanical milling with the aid of a catalyst. I can't really divulge into details because we're submitting the article for publication.
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