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Keywords:

  • biofuels;
  • homogeneous catalysis;
  • renewable resources;
  • solvent effects;
  • sulfur heterocycles
Thumbnail image of graphical abstract

Sulfolane, an industrial solvent, allows for the efficient conversion of fructose into 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural (HMF), a key platform chemical. Yields of ≥90 % are attainable with catalytic HBr in 1 h at 100 °C. The use of an inexpensive catalyst at a low concentration, low temperature, and short reaction time makes the process amenable for large-scale access to HMF.