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Univ of Delhi team uses Ru/C catalyst for one-pot conversion of biomass to DMF; EMF as another promising biofuel

Researchers at the University of Delhi (India) report the one-pot conversion of lignocellulosic and algal biomass into 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF) using a multicomponent catalytic system comprising [DMA]+[CH3SO3] (DMA=N,N-dimethylacetamide), Ru/C, and formic acid.

A paper on their work is published in the journal ChemSusChem.

The synthesis of DMF from all substrates was carried out under mild reaction conditions; the reaction progressed via 5-hydroxyemthylfurfural (HMF) in the first step followed by hydrogenation and hydrogenolysis of HMF with the Ru/C catalyst and formic acid as a hydrogen source.

This report discloses the effectiveness of the Ru/C catalyst for the first time for DMF synthesis from inexpensive and readily abundant biomass sources, which gives a maximum yield of 32% DMF in 1 h. A reaction route involving 5-(formyloxymethyl)furfural (FMF) as an intermediate has been elucidated based on the 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopic data.

Another promising biofuel, 5-ethoxymethylfurfural (EMF), was also synthesized with high selectivity from polymeric carbohydrate-rich biomass substrates by using a Brønsted acidic ionic liquid catalyst, that is [DMA]+[CH3SO3], by etherification of HMF in ethanol.

—De et al.


  • Sudipta De, Saikat Dutta, Basudeb Saha (2012) One-Pot Conversions of Lignocellulosic and Algal Biomass into Liquid Fuels. ChemSusChem doi: 10.1002/cssc.201200031



32% in one hour is darned good, start using some corn starch.. How expensive is that catalyst and is it used up in the reaction?

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