The sequential transfer hydrogenation/hydrogenolysis of furfural and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural to 2-methylfuran and 2,5-dimethylfuran was studied over in situ reduced, Fe2O3-supported Cu, Ni, and Pd catalysts, with 2-propanol as hydrogen donor. The remarkable activity of Pd/Fe2O3 in both transfer hydrogenation/hydrogenolysis is attributed to a strong metal–support interaction. Selectivity towards hydrogenation, hydrogenolysis, decarbonylation, and ring-hydrogenation products is shown to strongly depend on the Pd loading. A significant enhancement in yield to 62 %, of 2-methylfuran and 2-methyltetrahydrofuran was observed under continuous flow conditions.
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