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Rational design of bifunctional catalysts for the conversion of furfural into chemicals of industrial interest

mar 29 juin 2021



Soutenance de thèse de M. GAO Li sous la Direction de M. PERA-TITIUS Marc

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Description générale

Biomass is a renewable and clean resource, and great interest is devoted to its conversion into fuels and fine chemicals. In particular, furfural emerges as a key platform molecule. In this view, it is an urgent need to develop eco-efficient and intensified processes affording the conversion of furfural into added-value chemicals in a minimum number of steps. In this PhD thesis, we engineered single-reactor tandem reactions, where furfural is transformed into target chemicals in a one-pot fashion without separation of reaction intermediates. To this aim, multifunctional catalysts, showing high activity, selectivity and reusability, are required. As a first example, we conceived a single-reactor tandem process for the aldol condensation/crotonization reaction between furfural and methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK), followed by hydrogenation with molecular H2. Two robust bifunctional catalysts were developed and optimized based on Pd/HPSAPO-5 with hierarchical porosity and Brønsted acidity, and Pd/Al2O3, with Lewis acidity. The catalysts exhibited high yield to THF-derivatives and were reusable in multiple steps without decrease of catalytic activity. As a second example, we conceived a single-reactor tandem process for the benzoin condensation of furfural to furoin, followed by reductive amination of the as-generated furoin with NH3 and molecular H2. A high yield of 2-amino-1,2-di(furan-2-yl)ethan-1-ol could obtained over combined silica-supported benzimidazole and Ru/Al2O3.

Keywords: Biomass, Furfural, Aldol condensation, Hydrogenation, Amination

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