Researchers at the South China University of Technology report on the use of a Zr(H2PO4)2 solid acid catalyst in an isobutanol-water (1.6:1/V:V) two-phase system to convert glucose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF), an important green platform chemical with wide applications in the production of fine chemicals, pharmaceuticals, plastics and liquid alkanes.
Although fructose can be converted to 5-HMF with high yield via acid-catalyzed dehydration, fructose is costly.
“With its low cost and wide supply, the conversion of glucose to HMF has attracted the interests of researchers. For gaining a high 5-HMF yield, the choice of catalysts is very important (Zhuang et al.).”
Zhuang et al. report in their study, published in the journal Advanced Materials Research, an optimized 5-HMF yield of 42.32% within 1.5 hours at 180 °C over Zr(H2PO4)2 with ratio of 1:1; glucose conversion was 94.83%.
Source: Green Car Congress, 2011-05-19.