The catalytic transformation of bio-derived compounds, specifically 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), into value-added chemicals may provide sustainable alternatives to crude oil and natural gas-based products. HMF can be obtained from fructose and successfully converted to 2,5-diformylfuran (DFF) by an environmentally friendly organic electrosynthesis performed in an ElectraSyn reactor, using cost-effective and sustainable graphite (anode) and stainless-steel (cathode) electrodes in an undivided cell, eliminating the need for conventional precious metal electrodes. In this work, the electrocatalysis of HMF is performed by using green solvents such as acetonitrile, γ-valerolactone, as well as PolarClean, which is used in electrocatalysis for the first time. The reaction parameters and the synergistic effects of the TEMPO catalyst and 2,6-lutidine base are explored both experimentally and through computation modeling. The molecular design and synthesis of a size-enlarged C 3-symmetric tris-TEMPO catalyst are also performed to facilitate a sustainable reaction work-up through nanofiltration. The obtained performance is then compared with those obtained by heterogeneous TEMPO alternatives recovered by using an external magnetic field and microfiltration. Results show that this new method of electrocatalytic oxidation of HMF to DFF can be achieved with excellent selectivity, good yield, and excellent catalyst recovery.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: Scheme 1, Figure 8, front cover and the table of contents illustra-tions were created by Heno Hwang, scientific illustrator at KingAbdullah University of Science and Technology (KAUST). This work was supported by the Janos Bolyai Research Scholarship of the Hungarian Academy of Sciences (JK), the New National Excel-lence Program of the Ministry of Human Capacities, grant number NKP-19-4-BME-415 (JK), and the Gedeon Richter’s Talen-tum Foundation (PK). The research reported in this publication was supported by funding from KAUST.