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Keywords:

  • biomass;
  • catalysis;
  • density functional calculations;
  • ionic liquids;
  • platform chemicals
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

The catalytic dehydration of fructose into 5-hydroxymethylfurfural is conducted in an HCl–imidazolium ionic liquid (catalyst–solvent) system, in ambient conditions. High yields and excellent recyclability make the system a promising choice for fructose dehydration. DFT calculations suggest that the solvent “switches” the dehydration from thermodynamically unfavorable into a thermodynamically favorable reaction.