American Chemical Society
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Design of a Multifunctional Zirconium-Based Hybrid with Natural Lignocellulose for Transfer Hydrogenation of Furfural to Furfuryl Alcohol

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-12-02, 15:06 authored by Yao Liu, Rulu Huang, Junhua Zhang, Liang He, Lincai Peng
Hydrogenation reduction of furfural (FAL) to furfuryl alcohol (FOL) confirms the requirement of sustainable development of society. The key to realize this transformation is to design a cost-effective and environmental catalyst with both Lewis acid and Lewis base sites. Here, we report the preparation of a multifunctional zirconium-based hybrid (Zr@PS-MSA) using Pennisetum sinese (PS), an annual natural lignocellulose, as a natural organic ligand. The prepared hybrid was used as an efficient catalyst for catalytic transfer hydrogenation (CTH) of FAL to FOL in isopropanol, and a high yield of up to 99.6% was accomplished by manipulating exposed versatile acid–base sites. Further studies indicated that Zr@PS-MSA possessed remarkable cycle stability and could be consecutively run at least 6 times without significant change in the catalytic activity. Mechanistic studies for CTH of FAL to FOL through isotopically labeled 2-propanol-d8 experiments evidently demonstrate FAL reduction via intermolecular hydrogen transfer. More gratifyingly, Zr@PS-MSA can also efficiently catalyze the various biomass-derived carboxides to corresponding alcohols, with yields of up to 92.4%.