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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Cooperative Brønsted-Lewis acid sites created by phosphotungstic acid encapsulated metal–organic frameworks for selective glucose conversion to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural


Production of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) from biomass-derived glucose has great potential for synthesis of renewable fuels and chemicals. Selective glucose conversion to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural requires a balance between Lewis and Brønsted acids for the cascade of glucose isomerization followed by fructose dehydration. A dual Brønsted-Lewis acid, phosphotungstic acid encapsulated MIL-101(Al)–NH2 metal–organic frameworks (MOFs) was developed to catalyze the glucose dehydration reaction. The encapsulated catalysts had a high HMF selectivity of 58% at 44% glucose conversion at 120 °C in [C4C1im]Cl. Phosphotungstic acid was uniformly dispersed in the MOF pores, which provided both Brønsted and Lewis acid sites for this cascade reaction. The Brønsted acidic phosphotungstic acid-encapsulated MOF catalyst was stable and recyclable at least four times. These findings explain the effect of phosphotungstic acid location for maximizing the HMF selectivity and suggest a new approach for the design of bifunctional solid acid catalysts for selective HMF production from glucose. Moreover, the tunability of the acid properties of the encapsulated MOF catalysts provides opportunities for other biomass transformations.

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