Direct catalytic conversion of cellulose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural using ionic liquids

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Title: Direct catalytic conversion of cellulose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural using ionic liquids
Authors: Eminov, S
Filippousi, P
Brandt, A
Wilton-Ely, J
Hallett, J
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: Cellulose is the single largest component of lignocellulosic biomass and is an attractive feedstock for a wide variety of renewable platform chemicals and biofuels, providing an alternative to petrochemicals and petrofuels. This potential is currently limited by the existing methods of transforming this poorly soluble polymer into useful chemical building blocks, such as 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). Ionic liquids have been used successfully to separate cellulose from the other components of lignocellulosic biomass and so the use of the same medium for the challenging transformation of cellulose into HMF would be highly attractive for the development of the biorefinery concept. In this report, ionic liquids based on 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium cations [C4C1im]+ with Lewis basic (X = Cl−) and Brønsted acidic (X = HSO4−) anions were used to investigate the direct catalytic transformation of cellulose to HMF. Variables probed included the composition of the ionic liquid medium, the metal catalyst, and the reaction conditions (temperature, substrate concentration). Lowering the cellulose loading and optimising the temperature achieved a 58% HMF yield after only one hour at 150 °C using a 7 mol % loading of the CrCl3 catalyst. This compares favourably with current literature procedures requiring much longer reactions times or approaches that are difficult to scale such as microwave irradiation.
Issue Date: 20-Oct-2016
Date of Acceptance: 11-Oct-2016
ISSN: 2304-6740
Publisher: MDPI AG, Basel, Switzerland
Journal / Book Title: Inorganics
Volume: 4
Issue: 4
Copyright Statement: © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (
Publication Status: Published
Open Access location:
Article Number: 32
Appears in Collections:Chemistry
Catalysis and Advanced Materials

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