Biomass conversion to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) has been widely investigated as a sustainable alternative to petroleum-based feedstock, since it can be efficiently converted to fuel, plastic, polyester, and other industrial chemicals. In this report, the degradation of commercial cellulose, the isomerization of glucose to fructose, and the conversion of glucose to HMF in 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride ([BMIM]Cl]) using metal catalysts (CrCl3
) as well as tungsten and molybdenum oxide-based polyoxometalates (POM) were investigated. Tungsten and molybdenum oxide-based POMs in ionic liquids (IL) were able to degrade cellulose to majority glucose and epimerize glucose to mannose (in the case of the molybdenum oxide-based POM). A certain amount of glucose was also converted to HMF. The tungsten oxide-based POM in IL showed good activity for cellulose degradation but the overall products yield remained 28.6% lower than those obtained using CrCl3
as a catalyst. Lowering the cellulose loading did not significantly influence the results and the addition of water to the reaction medium decreased the product yields remarkably.
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