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Imidazole-Functionalized Polyoxometalate Catalysts for the Oxidation of 5‑Hydroxymethylfurfural to 2,5-Diformylfuran Using Atmospheric O2

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journal contribution
posted on 17.02.2021, 08:13 by Dan Liu, Baokuan Chen, Jie Li, Zhengguo Lin, Peihe Li, Ni Zhen, Yingnan Chi, Changwen Hu
Biomass as a sustainable and abundant carbon source has attracted considerable attention as a potential alternative to petroleum resources. The selective oxidation of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a versatile platform molecule, to value-added 2,5-diformylfuran (DFF) provides an efficient pathway for biomass valorization. Herein, three discrete imidazole-functionalized polyoxometalates (POMs), HPMo8VVI4O40(VVO)2[(VIVO)­(IM)4]2·nH2O·(IM)m (IM = 1-methylimidazole, n = 4, m = 8 for 1; IM = 1-ethylimidazole, n = 4, m = 9 for 2; IM = 1-propylimidazole, n = 0, m = 4 for 3), have been successfully synthesized by a facile solvothermal method and thoroughly characterized by routine techniques. Compounds 13 contain a bi-capped pseudo-Keggin {HPMo8V4O40(VO)2} and two imidazole-functionalized {(VO)­(IM)4} groups, which, to our knowledge, represent the first examples of organic-functionalized Mo–V clusters. Compounds 13 as heterogeneous catalysts can effectively promote the transformation of HMF to DFF using atmospheric O2 as oxidant. Under minimally optimized conditions, 95% of HMF was converted by 1 with 95% selectivity for DFF and its catalytic activity was basically maintained after five cycles. Moreover, the important roles of the bi-capped pseudo-Keggin cluster and the functionalized V groups in the selective oxidation of HMF have been explored. According to experimental and spectroscopic results, a three-step oxidation mechanism of HMF to DFF has been proposed.