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Keywords:

  • biomass;
  • heterogeneous catalysis;
  • hydrogenolysis;
  • ionic liquids;
  • liquid fuel

Abstract

The one-pot conversion of lignocellulosic and algal biomass into a liquid fuel, 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF), has been achieved by using a multicomponent catalytic system comprising [DMA]+[CH3SO3] (DMA=N,N-dimethylacetamide), Ru/C, and formic acid. The synthesis of DMF from all substrates was carried out under mild reaction conditions. The reaction progressed via 5-hydroxyemthylfurfural (HMF) in the first step followed by hydrogenation and hydrogenolysis of HMF with the Ru/C catalyst and formic acid as a hydrogen source. This report discloses the effectiveness of the Ru/C catalyst for the first time for DMF synthesis from inexpensive and readily abundant biomass sources, which gives a maximum yield of 32 % DMF in 1 h. A reaction route involving 5-(formyloxymethyl)furfural (FMF) as an intermediate has been elucidated based on the 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopic data. Another promising biofuel, 5-ethoxymethylfurfural (EMF), was also synthesized with high selectivity from polymeric carbohydrate-rich biomass substrates by using a Brønsted acidic ionic liquid catalyst, that is [DMA]+[CH3SO3], by etherification of HMF in ethanol.