The production of chemicals directly from sugars is an important step in biomass conversion. Herein, tetrahydro-2,5-furandimethanol (THFDM), obtained from fructose, is formed by using a combination of acid and hydrophobic Ru/SiO2 in a water/cyclohexane biphasic system. Two key factors enable the high selectivity towards THFDM: modifying the hydrogenation catalyst so that it has hydrophobic properties, and the continuous hydrogenation of generated 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural in the cyclohexane phase. Moreover, the selectivity towards THFDM is found to depend strongly on the acid catalyst used.
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