(582aa) Utilizing Solvent-Effects within Heterogeneous Catalysts for Selective Production of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural
Biomass, such as lignocellulose, is a highly abundant carbon source giving it great potential as a green alternative to fossil resources as a renewable source for production of chemicals and fuels. Current methods to valorize biomass break lignocellulose down into its monomeric components before converting it to useful platform chemicals such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). Previous research has shown that high selectivity can be achieved using organic solvents, which stabilize HMF preventing it from being converted to byproducts. However, the current challenge for HMF production is achieving high selectivity in water alone to avoid the difficult separation of HMF from the bulk organic solvent. This study involves implementing organic-like solvent effects within a mesoporous silica catalyst to promote fructose dehydration to HMF selectively in water. Testing these materials, we find that the catalytic material design can impact the overall selectivity, resulting in high selectivities. Ongoing work is investigating the ability to reuse the catalyst. Overall, this work provides a new direction to tune catalytic activity and selectivity.