Catalysts and Process for Hydrogenolysis of Sugar Alcohols to Polyols


Description of Technology


Metal-catalyzed cleavage of polyols (MCCP) is a novel technology for preparing low molecular weight polyols such as ethylene glycol and propylene glycol from high molecular weight polyols. Specifically, MCCP is a novel route for breaking apart these sugars (C6 and C5) using a metal-catalyzed, alkaline cleavage of sugar alcohols to C3 compounds. The technology possesses several advantages over existing methods. MCCP accelerates the cracking step, is able to utilize lower reaction temperatures, and has better selectivity. Thus, for example, it is able to produce lactic acid as desired. MCCP separates the usual hydrogenolysis process into two steps. It is through this novel process separation that MCCP has also shown enhanced yields of the desired products.


Key Benefits

  • Accelerated production of low molecular weight polyols (e.g., EG, PG, and lactic acid)
  • Lower reaction temperatures
  • Improved selectivity of end product
  • Enhanced yields
  • Lower costs
  • Renewable source



  • Industrial formulations
  • Bulk chemicals (e.g., polylactic and lactic acid)
  • Consumer products
  • Medical formulations
  • Food


Patent Status


U.S. patent 6,291,725




Shubham Chopade, Dennis Miller, James Jackson


Tech ID




Patent Information:


For Information, Contact:

Thomas Herlache
Assistant Director
Michigan State University