Researchers at Tohoku University (Japan) have developed 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. HMF can be converted into plastics, petroleum or diesel fuel extenders, or into diesel fuel. (Earlier post.)
A paper on their work was published online 26 July in the journal ChemSusChem.
They achieved a 5-HMF yield of 71% in 30 s for 96% glucose conversion with microwave heating at 140 °C. The activation energy of glucose conversion was determined to be 114.6 kJ mol-1, with a pre-exponential factor of 3.5×1014 min-1.
They also studied fructose, sucrose, cellobiose, and cellulose; 5-HMF yields of 54% were obtained for cellulose conversion at 150 °C during 10 min of reaction time. Recycling of the ionic liquid and CrCl3 is demonstrated with six cycles of use.
Xinhua Qi, Masaru Watanabe, Taku M. Aida, Richard L. Smith Jr (2010) Fast Transformation of Glucose and Di-/Polysaccharides into 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural by Microwave Heating in an Ionic Liquid/Catalyst System. ChemSusChem doi: 10.1002/cssc.201000124