Zinc-assisted hydrodeoxygenation of biomass-derived 5-hydroxymethylfurfural to 2,5-dimethylfuran.

PMID 25187223


2,5-Dimethylfuran (DMF), a promising cellulosic biofuel candidate from biomass derived intermediates, has received significant attention because of its low oxygen content, high energy density, and high octane value. A bimetallic catalyst combination containing a Lewis-acidic Zn(II) and Pd/C components is effective for 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) to DMF with high conversion (99%) and selectivity (85% DMF). Control experiments for evaluating the roles of zinc and palladium revealed that ZnCl2 alone did not catalyze the reaction, whereas Pd/C produced 60% less DMF than the combination of both metals. The presence of Lewis acidic component (Zn) was also found to be beneficial for HMF HDO with Ru/C catalyst, but the synergistic effect between the two metal components is more pronounced for the Pd/Zn system than the Ru/Zn. A comparative analysis of the Pd/Zn/C catalyst to previously reported catalytic systems show that the Pd/Zn system containing at least four times less precious metal than the reported catalysts gives comparable or better DMF yields. The catalyst shows excellent recyclability up to 4 cycles, followed by a deactivation, which could be due to coke formation on the catalyst surface. The effectiveness of this combined bimetallic catalyst has also been tested for one-pot conversion of fructose to DMF.