Acta Phys. -Chim. Sin. ›› 2012, Vol. 28 ›› Issue (10): 2349-2354.doi: 10.3866/PKU.WHXB201207312

• CATALYSIS AND SURFACE SCIENCE • Previous Articles     Next Articles

One-Pot Catalytic Conversion of Xylose to Furfural on Mesoporous Niobium Phosphate

LI Xiang-Cheng, ZHANG Yu, XIA Yin-Jiang, HU Bi-Cheng, ZHONG-Lin, WANG Yan-Qin, LU Guan-Zhong   

  1. Research Institute of Industrial Catalysis, East China University of Science and Technology, Shanghai 200237, P. R. China
  • Received:2012-06-11 Revised:2012-07-30 Published:2012-09-26
  • Supported by:

    The project was supported by the National Natural Science Foundation of China (20973058) and Fundamental Research Funds for the Central Universities, China.

Abstract:

The conversion of xylose to furfural normally involves two steps: the isomerization of xylose to xylulose catalyzed by an enzyme, a base or a Lewis acid, followed by the acid-catalyzed dehydration of xylulose to furfural. To allow a more efficient single-step conversion, a new water-tolerant solid acid catalyst, mesoporous niobium phosphate was synthesized. This synthesis was performed using a soft template approach, with cetyltriethylammonium bromide (CTAB) as the template. The structure and properties of the catalyst thus synthesized were investigated by X-ray diffraction (XRD), N2 sorption, transmission electron microscopy (TEM), temperature-programmed desorption of NH3 (NH3-TPD), and pyridine sorption FTIR (Py-FTIR). These studies determined that the niobium phosphate not only had a large surface area (>200 m2·g-1) and narrow pore size distribution (3.5 nm), but also had relatively strong Lewis and Brønsted acidity. This catalyst was found to be capable of producing furfural via a simple one-pot process, including the isomerization of xylose to xylulose and subsequent dehydration. The influence of several variables including temperature, mass ratio of xylose/catalyst, and reaction time on the extent of xylose conversion and furfural yield were studied. Under optimal conditions, the yield of furfural in aqueous solution reached 49.8% with 96.5% xylose conversion. It was further determined that both the yield and the separation of furfural could be improved by employing a methyl isobutyl ketone (MIBK)/water (volume ratio 7:3) biphase containing NaCl in the aqueous phase, resulting in a 68.4% yield.

Key words: Mesoporous niobium phosphate, Brö, nsted acid, Lewis acid, Xylose, Furfural, Aqueous phase, Biphase

MSC2000: 

  • O643