Report

Metal Chlorides in Ionic Liquid Solvents Convert Sugars to 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural

Science  15 Jun 2007:
Vol. 316, Issue 5831, pp. 1597-1600
DOI: 10.1126/science.1141199

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Abstract

Replacing petroleum feedstocks by biomass requires efficient methods to convert carbohydrates to a variety of chemical compounds. We report the catalytic conversion of sugars giving high yield to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a versatile intermediate. Metal halides in 1-alkyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride are catalysts, among which chromium (II) chloride is found to be uniquely effective, leading to the conversion of glucose to HMF with a yield near 70%. A wide range of metal halides is found to catalyze the conversion of fructose to HMF. Only a negligible amount of levulinic acid is formed in these reactions.

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