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Influence of a Lewis acid and a Brønsted acid on the conversion of microcrystalline cellulose into 5-hydroxymethylfurfural in a single-phase reaction system of water and 1,2-dimethoxyethane

Zhao, Yuan, Wang, Shurong, Lin, Haizhou, Chen, Jingping, Xu, Hao
RSC advances 2018 v.8 no.13 pp. 7235-7242
Bronsted acids, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, Lewis acids, aluminum chloride, catalysts, cellulose, depolymerization, fructose, fuels, gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, glucose, humin, hydroxymethylfurfural, levulinic acid, liquids, phosphoric acid, solvents
5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is a typical dehydration product of C6 carbohydrates, and it can be converted into a series of chemicals and liquid fuels. In this study, an advanced low-boiling single-phase reaction system consisting of water and 1,2-dimethoxyethane (DMOE) was proposed for the production of HMF from microcrystalline cellulose (MCC). AlCl₃ and H₃PO₄ were selected as the Lewis acidic catalyst and Brønsted acidic catalyst, respectively, and the influence of these two catalysts on the conversion behavior of MCC was studied. The results showed that MCC could be selectively converted into HMF or levulinic acid (LA) by altering the solvent composition. As for the composition of the catalyst, high AlCl₃ content favored the generation of HMF, whereas high H₃PO₄ content could decrease the HMF yield and promote the formation of glucose and fructose. The highest HMF yield of 49.42% was obtained at an AlCl₃–H₃PO₄ ratio of 1 : 0.8. GC-MS analysis suggested that much MCC was transformed into furans and cyclopentenones in the presence of AlCl₃, while anhydrosugars tended to be generated with a high H₃PO₄ proportion in the catalyst. Besides, FTIR analysis of the insoluble humin formed during MCC conversion indicated that AlCl₃ could also facilitate the depolymerization of MCC.