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Inorganics 2016, 4(4), 32; doi:10.3390/inorganics4040032

Direct Catalytic Conversion of Cellulose to 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural Using Ionic Liquids

1
Department of Chemistry, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
2
Department of Chemical Engineering, Imperial College London, London SW7 2AZ, UK
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Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editor: Andreas Taubert
Received: 21 June 2016 / Revised: 28 September 2016 / Accepted: 11 October 2016 / Published: 20 October 2016
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Abstract

Cellulose is the single largest component of lignocellulosic biomass and is an attractive feedstock for a wide variety of renewable platform chemicals and biofuels, providing an alternative to petrochemicals and petrofuels. This potential is currently limited by the existing methods of transforming this poorly soluble polymer into useful chemical building blocks, such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). Ionic liquids have been used successfully to separate cellulose from the other components of lignocellulosic biomass and so the use of the same medium for the challenging transformation of cellulose into HMF would be highly attractive for the development of the biorefinery concept. In this report, ionic liquids based on 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium cations [C4C1im]+ with Lewis basic (X = Cl) and Brønsted acidic (X = HSO4) anions were used to investigate the direct catalytic transformation of cellulose to HMF. Variables probed included the composition of the ionic liquid medium, the metal catalyst, and the reaction conditions (temperature, substrate concentration). Lowering the cellulose loading and optimising the temperature achieved a 58% HMF yield after only one hour at 150 °C using a 7 mol % loading of the CrCl3 catalyst. This compares favourably with current literature procedures requiring much longer reactions times or approaches that are difficult to scale such as microwave irradiation. View Full-Text
Keywords: biorenewables; platform chemicals; catalysis; biorefinery; lignocellulose biorenewables; platform chemicals; catalysis; biorefinery; lignocellulose
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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MDPI and ACS Style

Eminov, S.; Filippousi, P.; Brandt, A.; Wilton-Ely, J.D.E.T.; Hallett, J.P. Direct Catalytic Conversion of Cellulose to 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural Using Ionic Liquids. Inorganics 2016, 4, 32.

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