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Polyphenylene as an Active Support for Ru-Catalyzed Hydrogenolysis of 5‑Hydroxymethylfurfural

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journal contribution
posted on 19.11.2020, 16:33 by Qiming Wang, Xuze Guan, Liqun Kang, Bolun Wang, Lin Sheng, Feng Ryan Wang
Selective transformation of biomass feedstocks to platform molecules is a key pursuit for sustainable chemical production. Compared to petrochemical processes, biomass transformation requires the defunctionalization of highly polar molecules at relatively low temperatures. As a result, catalysts based on functional organic polymers may play a prominent role. Targeting the hydrogenolysis of the platform chemical 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF), here, we design a polyphenylene (PPhen) framework with purely sp2-hybridized carbons that can isolate 5-HMF via π–π stacking, preventing hemiacetal and humin formation. With good swellability, the PPhen framework here has successfully supported and dispersed seven types of metal particles via a newly developed swelling-impregnation method, including Ru, Pt, Au, Fe, Co, Ni, and Cu. Ru/PPhen is studied for 5-HMF hydrogenolysis, achieving a 92% yield of 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF) under mild conditions, outperforming the state-of-the-art catalysts reported in the literature. In addition, PPhen helps perform a solventless reaction, achieving direct 5-HMF to DMF conversion in the absence of any liquid solvent or reagent. This approach in designing support–reactant/solvent/metal interactions will play an important role in surface catalysis.