American Chemical Society
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Plasmon-Enhanced 5‑Hydroxymethylfurfural Production from the Photothermal Conversion of Cellulose in a Biphasic Medium

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journal contribution
posted on 2021-11-18, 18:34 authored by Aiguo Wang, Paula Berton, Heng Zhao, Steven L. Bryant, Md Golam Kibria, Jinguang Hu
The rigid structure of cellulose renders a challenge for the efficient transformation of cellulose into valuable chemicals under mild conditions. Here, we report a multifunctional catalyst (Ru/HY-SO3H) for the selective cellulose conversion to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) with a yield of 48.4% in a biphasic medium (ionic liquid/methyl isobutyl ketone) at a relatively low temperature (120 °C) and light illumination. The high yield of HMF from direct cellulose transformation is attributed to the cooperative effect of Ru particles and acidic sites. Ru supported on zeolite Y generates the surface plasmon resonance effect to enhance the catalytic activity via light energy harvesting and provides more acid sites to enhance cellulose hydrolysis. The biphasic system is found to facilitate the production of HMF by protecting it from undergoing side reactions. Our work demonstrates a feasible and sustainable way to efficiently produce high value-added chemicals from biomass conversion driven by solar energy under mild conditions.