Poisoning of Ru/C by Homogeneous Brønsted Acids in Hydrodeoxygenation of 2,5-Dimethylfuran via Catalytic Transfer Hydrogenation
Gilkey, Matthew J.
Vlachos, Dionisios G.
It has been proposed that the combination of metal and acid sites is critical for effective ring opening of biomass-derived furans to linear molecules, a reaction that holds promise for the production of renewable polymer precursors and alkanes. In this work, we use 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF) as a model compound to investigate hydrogenolysis and hydrogenation pathways using a combination of H2SO4 and Ru-mediated catalytic transfer hydrogenation in 2-propanol. Acid-catalyzed hydrolytic ring opening of DMF to 2,5-hexanedione (HDN) occurs readily at 80 °C with a selectivity of 89% in 2-propanol. Over Ru/C, HDN is fully converted after only 2 h at 80 °C, forming a mixture of both ring-closed products (~68% total yield), i.e., 2,5-dimethyltetrahydrofuran (DMTHF) and 2,5-dimethyl-2,3-dihydrofuran (DMDHF), as well as ring opened products (~28% total yield), i.e., 2,5-hexanediol (2,5-HDL) and 2-hexanol (HOL). Rather than observing sequential hydrolysis/hydrogenation reactions, we observe severe suppression of metal chemistry when having both Ru/C and H2SO4 in the reaction system. While minor leaching of Ru occurs in the presence of mineral acids, X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy coupled with CO chemisorption studies suggest that the primary cause of the lack of Ru-mediated chemistry is poisoning by strongly adsorbed sulfate species. This hypothesis is supported by the observation of Ru-catalyzed chemistry when replacing H2SO4 with Nafion, a solid Brønsted acid, as sulfonic acid groups tethered to the polymer backbone cannot adsorb on the metal sites.
Author's final draft after peer review
Gilkey, Matthew J., Dionisios G. Vlachos, and Bingjun Xu. "Poisoning of Ru/C by homogeneous Brønsted acids in hydrodeoxygenation of 2, 5-dimethylfuran via catalytic transfer hydrogenation." Applied Catalysis A: General 542 (2017): 327-335.