(29g) Comparison between Thermal- and Electro-Catalytic Upgrading of Furanic Compounds in the Liquid Phase: A Combined Experimental and DFT Study
The ability to control and manipulate selectivities in catalytic upgrading of biomass is desirable. In this work, we show that selectivity of liquid-phase hydrogenation of furfural, which is an important platform chemical produced from thermal treatment of biomass, varies significantly as compared to gas-phase reactions using palladium and copper catalysts. Presence of the liquid phase affects the adsorption of reactants, intermediates and products as well as reaction pathways leading to the varied selectivities. In addition, using an electrochemical cell, we show that conversion of furfural to methylfuran over a copper catalyst is the preferred route, while it has been shown that furfuryl alcohol is the dominant product in the thermal-catalytic reactions. This different selectivites indicate that the reaction mechanism is varied under these two reaction conditions. This work thus suggests that one can control the selectivity of furfural upgrading by using both liquid phase catalysis and electrocatalysis, which provides additional degrees of freedom for tailoring the chemical reactions.
The calculations were performed at NERSC and OU Supercomputing Center for Education and Research (OSCER). We appreciate support from the U.S. DOE through a DOE/EPSCOR grant (DESC0004600).