Cu/MgAl2O4 as Bifunctional Catalyst for Aldol Condensation of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural and Selective Transfer Hydrogenation

Authors

  • Kristina Pupovac,

    1. Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Platz 1, 45470 Mülheim an der Ruhr (Germany)
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  • Prof. Dr. Regina Palkovits

    Corresponding author
    1. Institut für Technische und Makromolekulare Chemie, RWTH Aachen University, Worringerweg 1, 52074 Aachen (Germany)
    2. Max-Planck-Institut für Kohlenforschung, Kaiser-Wilhelm-Platz 1, 45470 Mülheim an der Ruhr (Germany)
    • Institut für Technische und Makromolekulare Chemie, RWTH Aachen University, Worringerweg 1, 52074 Aachen (Germany)

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Abstract

Copper supported on mesoporous magnesium aluminate has been prepared as noble-metal-free solid catalyst for aldol condensation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural with acetone, followed by hydrogenation of the aldol condensation products. The investigated mesoporous spinels possess high activity as solid-base catalysts. Magnesium aluminate exhibits superior activity compared to zinc and cobalt-based aluminates, reaching full conversion and up to 81 % yield of the 1:1 aldol product. The high activity can be correlated to a higher concentration of basic surface sites on magnesium aluminate. Applying continuous regeneration, the catalysts can be recycled without loss of activity. Focusing on the subsequent hydrogenation of aldol condensation products, Cu/MgAl2O4 allows a selective hydrogenation and C[BOND]O bond cleavage, delivering 3-hydroxybutyl-5-methylfuran as the main product with up to 84 % selectivity avoiding ring saturation. Analysis of the hydrogenation activity reveals that the reaction proceeds in the following order: C[DOUBLE BOND]C>C[DOUBLE BOND]O>C[BOND]O cleavage>ring hydrogenation. Comparable activity and selectivity can be also achieved utilizing 2-propanol as solvent in the transfer hydrogenation, providing the possibility for partial recycling of acetone and optimization of the hydrogen management.

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