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Use of Gamma-Valerolactone as an Illuminating Liquid and Lighter Fluid

Fábos Viktória, Lui Matthew Y., Mui Yiu Fung, Wong Yuet Yan, Mika László T., Qi Long, Cséfalvay Edit, Kovács Viktória, Szűcs Tibor, Horváth István T.
ACS sustainable chemistry 2015 v.3 no.9 pp. 1899-1904
ammonia, ammonium sulfate, catalysts, charcoal, dioxane, ethanol, formic acid, glass, lamps, levulinic acid, neutralization, odors, smoke, sulfuric acid, volatile organic compounds
The sulfuric acid-catalyzed conversion of paper wastes in gamma-valerolactone (GVL) or dioxane leads to the formation of levulinic acid (LA) and formic acid (FA), which can be converted to GVL by transfer-hydrogenation using the Shvo catalyst in situ or separately. The isolation of LA and FA was assisted by the neutralization of the sulfuric acid with ammonia to form a biphasic system. While the ammonium sulfate and most of FA and some of LA were in the aqueous phase, the organic solvent-rich phase contained most of the LA and some of the FA. GVL was used as an illuminating liquid in glass lamps for hours without the formation of noticeable smoke and/or odor even in a small room. While neat GVL can be used for the safe but somewhat slow lighting of charcoal, the ignition with different mixtures of GVL (95 or 90 vol %) and ethanol (5 or 10 vol %) was reduced to a convenient few seconds. Ignition tests of charcoal combined with emission analyses revealed that by increasing the ethanol content to 10 vol % the relative VOC emission can be decreased by 15% compared to the commercial lighter fluids.