Considerable effort has been applied to the development of new processes and catalysts for cellulose conversion to valuable platform chemicals. Isosorbide is among the most interesting products as it can be applied as a monomer and building block for the future replacement of fossil resource-based products. A sustainable method of isosorbide production from cellulose is presented in this work. The strategy relies on a bifunctional Ru catalyst supported on mesoporous niobium phosphate in a H2 atmosphere under pressure without further addition of any soluble acid. Over 50 % yield of isosorbide with almost 100 % cellulose conversion can be obtained in 1 h. The large surface area, pore size, and strong acidity of mesoporous niobium phosphate promote the hydrolysis of cellulose and dehydration of sorbitol; additionally, the appropriate size of the supported Ru nanoparticles avoids unnecessary hydrogenolysis of sorbitol. Under a cellulose/catalyst mass ratio of 43.3, the present bifunctional catalyst could be stably used up to six times, with its mesoporous structure well preserved and without detectable Ru leaching into the reaction solution.
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