One-Pot Conversion of Sugar and Sugar Polyols to n-Alkanes without C[BOND]C Dissociation over the Ir-ReOx/SiO2 Catalyst Combined with H-ZSM-5



Invited for this month′s cover is the group of Keiichi Tomishige at Tohoku University, Sendai (Japan). The image shows how OH groups of biomass-derived compounds such as sugar polyols are selectively cut off by hydrogenolysis over an Ir-ReOx/SiO2 catalyst, similar to how the skin of a pineapple can be cut off by using a knife. Read the full text of the article at 10.1002/cssc.201200940

What are the most significant results of this study?

1The first important point is the high-yield synthesis of bionaphtha: bionaphtha, such as n-hexane and n-pentane, is obtained in high yields by a one-pot hydrogenolysis of aqueous sugar and sugar polyols, using Ir-ReOx/SiO2 as catalyst in combination with H-ZSM-5 as co-catalyst and n-dodecane as co-solvent. The second significant point is the separation of the catalyst from the product: the product is automatically transported to the n-dodecane phase, leaving only the catalyst in the water phase. Reuse of the catalyst can be easily conducted by removing the n-dodecane phase and adding new substrate and n-dodecane.

Scheme 1.

Back: Dr. Yoshinao Nakagawa, Dr. Masazumi Tamura, Dr. Zhenle Yuan Front: Prof. Keiichi Tomishige, Dr. Kaiyou Chen

Scheme 2.

Department of Applied Chemistry, School of Engineering Tohoku University, Aoba, Aramaki, Aoba-ku Sendai, 980-8579 (Japan) Fax: (+81) 22-795-7214 E-mail:

Who took the fascinating pictures?

Mitsuru Koike, who was a graduate student in the Tomishige laboratory. He is not only a skillful chemist, but also a talented photographer. He took the group photograph and the beautiful pictures of pineapple, matching the concept of our study.

What other topics are you working on at the moment?

Our group is developing catalysts for hydrogen and syngas produced by steam reforming of tar obtained from biomass pyrolysis. The production of renewable hydrogen is also connected to the reductive conversion of biomass into fuels or chemicals. In addition, we have been working on the development of heterogeneous catalysts such as ZrO2 and CeO2 for the conversion of CO2 into useful chemicals, such as organic carbonates, by reaction with alcohols since 1999.


This work was in part supported by the JSPS KAKENHI 23760737 and a part of this research is funded by the Cabinet Office, Government of Japan through its “Funding Program for Next Generation World-Leading Researchers”.

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