A range of Pt:Cu bimetallic nanoparticles were investigated for the liquid-phase selective hydrogenation of furfural, an important platform biomass feedstock. Alloying of the two metals had a profound effect on the overall catalytic activity, providing superior rates of reaction and achieving the needed high selectivity towards furfuryl alcohol. Furthermore, we investigated the catalytic activity of an Ultra Dilute Alloy (UDA) formed via the galvanic replacement of Cu atoms by Pt atoms on dispersed host Cu nanoparticles (atomic ratio Pt:Cu 1:20). This UDA, after overcoming an induction period, exhibits exceptionally high initial rates of hydrogenation under modest hydrogen pressures of 10 and 20 bar, rivalling the catalytic turnover for the monometallic Pt (containing 12 times more Pt), and outdoing the pure Cu or other compositions of bimetallic nanoparticle alloy catalysts. These atom efficient catalysts are ideal candidates for the valorization of furfural due to their activity and vastly greater economic viability.
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- Bimetallic alloy
- Selective hydrogenation
- Ultra dilute alloy