Various iridium supported carbon catalysts were prepared and screened for direct hydrogenation of furfural (FFR) to 2-methyl furan (2-MF). Amongest these, 5% Ir/C showed excellent results with complete FFR conversion and highest selectivity of 95% to 2-MF at very low H2 pressure of 100 psig. Metallic (Iro) and oxide ( IrO2) phases of Ir catalyzed first step hydrogenation involving FFR to FAL and subsequent hydrogenation to 2-MF,respecively. This was confirmed by XPS analysis and some controlled experiments. At low temperature of 140 oC, almost equal selectivities of FAL (42%) and 2-MF (43%) were observed, while higher temperature (220oC) favored selective hydrodeoxygenation. At optimized temperature, 2-MF formed selectively while higher pressure and higher catalyst loading favored ring hydrogenation of furfural rather than side chain hydrogenation. With combination of several control experimental results and detailed catalyst characterization, a plausible reaction pathway has been proposed for selective formation of 2-MF. The selectivity to various other products in FFR hydrogenation can be manipulated by tailoring the reaction conditions over the same catalyst.
Bibliographical noteKAUST Repository Item: Exported on 2020-10-01
Acknowledgements: One of the authors NSD gratefully acknowledges Department of Science and Technology (DST) New Delhi, for financial support to him.