(730g) Paired Electrocatalytic Hydrogenation and Oxidation of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural for Efficient Production of Biorenewable Monomers

Chadderdon, X., Iowa State University
Li, W., Iowa State University
Chadderdon, D., Iowa State University
Electrochemical synthesis is a promising route for sustainable chemical production; however, its widespread application is hindered by economic limitations incurred from high capital and operating costs. In this presentation, we report highly efficient electrocatalytic conversion of 5-(hydroxymethyl)furfural (HMF) to biobased monomers by pairing HMF reduction and oxidation half reactions in a single electrochemical cell. HMF hydrogenation to 2,5-bis(hydroxymethyl)furan (BHMF) was achieved under mild electrolyte conditions and ambient temperature using a Ag/C cathode. Meanwhile, HMF oxidation to 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) with ~100% efficiency was facilitated under the same conditions by a homogeneous nitroxyl radical redox mediator, together with an inexpensive carbon felt anode. The selectivity and efficiency for Ag-catalyzed BHMF formation were sensitive to cathode potential, owing to competition from HMF hydrodimerization reactions and water reduction (hydrogen evolution). Moreover, the carbon support of Ag/C was active for HMF reduction and contributed to undesired dimer/oligomer formation at strongly cathodic potentials. As a result, high BHMF selectivity and efficiency were only achieved within a narrow potential range near –1.3 V. Fortunately, the selectivity of redox-mediated HMF oxidation was insensitive to anode potential, thus allowing HMF hydrogenation and oxidation half reactions to be performed together in a single cathode-potential-controlled cell. Electrocatalytic HMF conversion in a paired cell achieved high molar yields of BHMF and FDCA, and nearly doubled electron efficiency compared to the unpaired cells. Future research will be focused on rational design of an electrochemical flow reactor, in which the use of a membrane electrode assembly (MEA) can significantly lower the internal resistance and reduce the total energy demand.