Scientists from Denmark and the USA have achieved efficient conversion of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) to valuable chemicals over a Cu-doped porous metal oxide catalyst in supercritical methanol.
HMF (readily obtained from hexose sugars) has been identified as a key platform compound to generate useful renewable chemicals for the fuel industry, such as 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF) and 2,5-dimethyltetrahydrofuran (DMTHF). However, achieving selective transformation of HMF to a specific product and preventing the formation of undesired side-products remains a challenge.
In this work, a collaboration between scientists at the Technical University of Denmark, Yale University (USA) and the University of California Santa-Barbara (USA) led by Katalin Barta and Andreas Riisager have developed an one-pot procedure for the reduction of HMF. The catalyst was prepared in aqueous solution from inexpensive and earth-abundant starting materials before undergoing calcination. By tuning the reaction temperature, DMF or DMTHF and 2-hexanol could be obtained as the major products, and no formation of higher boiling side products or undesired char was detected.
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One-pot reduction of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural viahydrogen transfer from supercritical methanol, Thomas S. Hansen, Katalin Barta, Paul T. Anastas, Peter C. Ford and Anders Riisager, Green Chem., 2012, 14, 2457-2461
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