Gas-phase hydrogenation of furfural to tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol is catalyzed by Ni/SiO2 with <4 nm Ni particle size, which is prepared by the reduction of supported nickel nitrate. The maximum yield is 94 %. The conversion of furfural to the furfuryl alcohol intermediate is less structure-sensitive. The subsequent step in which furfuryl alcohol is converted to tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol is inhibited by the presence of furfural because furfural is more strongly adsorbed onto the catalyst surface than furfuryl alcohol. This step is strongly structure-sensitive and smaller turnover frequency (TOF) values are observed over Ni/SiO2 catalysts with a larger particle size.
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