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Cu/Cu₂O-MC (MC = Mesoporous Carbon) for Highly Efficient Hydrogenation of Furfural to Furfuryl Alcohol under Visible Light

Zhang, Min, Li, Zhaohui
ACS sustainable chemistry & engineering 2019 v.7 no.13 pp. 11485-11492
ammonia, carbon, catalysts, copper, cost effectiveness, cuprous oxide, furfural, furfuryl alcohol, gels, hydrogenation, ion exchange, irradiation, light, nanoparticles, polymers, porous media, protons, pyrolysis, synergism, temperature
Cu/Cu₂O-MC (MC = mesoporous carbon), in which small sized metallic Cu and Cu₂O nanoparticles were deposited on graphitized mesoporous carbon, has been successfully obtained via a pyrolysis at 1100 °C of a Cu/mesostructured polymer framework precursor obtained via an ion-exchange process between Cu²⁺ in [Cu(NH₃)₄]²⁺ and H⁺ in polymeric gel. Due to a synergistic effect played by Cu₂O and plasmonic metallic Cu, the as-obtained Cu/Cu₂O-MC showed superior performance for selective transfer hydrogenation of furfural (FAL) to produce furfuryl alcohol (FOL) under visible light, with 94.3% of FAL converted and a yield of 90.9% to FOL after being irradiated for 14 h. The TOF for the production of FOL was determined to be 4.65 h–¹ in 14 h, comparable to those previously reported over Cu-based catalysts for transfer hydrogenation of FAL to produce FOL carried out under high temperature. This study provides a green, sustainable, and cost-effective method for highly efficient transformation of FAL to produce FOL. This study also highlights the great potential of using Cu-based catalysts for light initiated transfer hydrogenation reactions.