(617ac) Selective Hydrogenolysis of Furfuryl Alcohol to 2-Methylfuran over Reduced Co-Fe-Al Mixed Metal Oxides

Authors: 
Sulmonetti, T., Georgia Institute of Technology
Hu, B., Illinois Institute of Technology
Jones, C. W., Georgia Institute of Technology
Agrawal, P. K., Georgia Institute of Technology
Taylor Sulmonetti, Bo Hu, Pradeep Agrawal, Christopher W. Jones

Selective Hydrogenolysis of Furfuryl Alcohol to 2-Methylfuran Over Reduced Co-Fe-Al Mixed Metal Oxides

Furfural and furfuryl alcohol have shown promise as major biomass platform chemicals, since they can be converted into a variety of value added products. Through side chain hydrogenolysis, furfuryl alcohol can be converted into 2-methylfuran, a potential fuel additive. Few monometallic catalysts show selective conversion of furfuryl alcohol towards 2-methylfuran; therefore, bifunctional and bimetallic catalysts have been widely pursued for this purpose in recent years. In this investigation, low cost, earth-abundent metal/metal oxide composites were utilized for the creation of 2-methylfuran through vapor phase conversion of furfuryl alcohol. An array of Co-Fe-Al catalysts were synthesized through the calcination of layered double hydroxides, and subsequently reduced in H2 to produce materials that contained both metallic and oxide domains. Vapor phase flow reactions were conducted after reduction to evaluate the reactivity of the reduced mixed metal oxides with varying Co/Fe ratios. The introduction of Fe into the mixed metal oxide matrix facilitated further reduction of the Co species to produce more catalytically active sites. Additionally, with the incorporation of Fe, the selectivity of 2-methylfuran reached about 85%, which is comparable or superior to prior reports using other catalytic compositions. Further characterization utilizing an array of spectroscopic experiments, including XAS and XPS, indicated the emergence of both metallic Co and Fe phases upon reduction. Lastly, the morphology was investigated through STEM to support the hypothesis that the catalysts were composed of well-dispersed mixed metal oxides containing metallic domains.