Direct carbon-carbon coupling of furanics with acetic acid over Brønsted zeolites

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Science Advances  16 Sep 2016:
Vol. 2, no. 9, e1601072
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.1601072


Effective carbon-carbon coupling of acetic acid to form larger products while minimizing CO2 emissions is critical to achieving a step change in efficiency for the production of transportation fuels from sustainable biomass. We report the direct acylation of methylfuran with acetic acid in the presence of water, all of which can be readily produced from biomass. This direct coupling limits unwanted polymerization of furanics while producing acetyl methylfuran. Reaction kinetics and density functional theory calculations illustrate that the calculated apparent barrier for the dehydration of the acid to form surface acyl species is similar to the experimentally measured barrier, implying that this step plays a significant role in determining the net reaction rate. Water inhibits the overall rate, but selectivity to acylated products is not affected. We show that furanic species effectively stabilize the charge of the transition state, therefore lowering the overall activation barrier. These results demonstrate a promising new route to C–C bond–forming reactions for the production of higher-value products from biomass.

  • Acylation
  • carboxylic acids
  • biomass
  • zeolites
  • renewable energy

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