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

Viktória Fábos, Matthew Y. Lui, Yiu Fung Mui, Yuet Yan Wong, László T. Mika, Long Qi, Edit Cséfalvay, Viktória Kovács, Tibor Szucs, István T. Horváth*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

61 Citations (Scopus)


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. (Figure Presented).

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1899-1904
Number of pages6
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 8 Sept 2015

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment

User-Defined Keywords

  • Ethanol
  • Gamma-valerolactone
  • Illuminating liquids
  • Lighter fluids
  • Paper wastes


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