Researchers at the Institute of Bioengineering and Nanotechnology in Singapore have demonstrated the catalytic dehydration of fructose into 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) in an HCl–imidazolium ionic liquid (catalyst–solvent) system, in ambient conditions. HMF can subsequently be converted into plastics, petroleum or diesel fuel extenders, or into diesel fuel.
The Singapore team concluded that high yields and excellent recyclability make the system a promising choice for fructose dehydration. DFT calculations suggest that the solvent “switches” the dehydration from thermodynamically unfavorable into a thermodynamically favorable reaction.
A paper on their work was published online 1 September in the journal ChemSusChem.
In August, a team of researchers from Tohoku University (Japan) reported an efficient method for converting glucose into 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) in the presence of CrCl3 catalyst by using the ionic liquid 1-butyl-3-methyl imidazolium chloride as solvent. (Earlier post.)
Lai, L. and Zhang, Y. (2010) The Effect of Imidazolium Ionic Liquid on the Dehydration of Fructose to 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural, and a Room Temperature Catalytic System. ChemSusChem doi: 10.1002/cssc.201000201