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Keywords:

  • aerobic oxidation;
  • biofuels;
  • gold nanocatalysts;
  • polyester building blocks;
  • sustainable chemistry

Abstract

The synthesis of fine chemicals from the platform molecules obtained through the degradation of the cellulosic and lignocellulosic biomass is a most widely envisioned approach toward the implementation of renewable feedstocks for fuels and chemicals. Significant advances have been made in the synthesis of furan-based polyester building block 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and related compounds such as 2,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)furan and 2,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)tetrahydrofuran from biomass-derived 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) by using homogeneous and nanoparticulate catalysts. This review provides a survey of selective aerobic oxidation of HMF to give FDCA as the end-product. The article highlights the fundamental aspects of preferring nanoparticulate catalysts over the conventional supported metal catalysts for the synthesis of FDCA with high selectivity. Another objective of the review is to discuss how efficiently the HMF-platform produces biofuels, including gasoline blendstock 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF), 5-ethoxymethylfurfural (EMF), and ethyl levulinate (EL), which are competitive of existing liquid fuels.