A family of tungstated zirconia solid acid catalysts were synthesised via wet impregnation and subsequent thermochemical processing for the transformation of glucose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). Acid strength increased with tungsten loading and calcination temperature, associated with stabilisation of tetragonal zirconia. High tungsten dispersions of between 2 and 7 W atoms·nm−2 were obtained in all cases, equating to sub-monolayer coverages. Glucose isomerisation and subsequent dehydration via fructose to HMF increased with W loading and calcination temperature up to 600 °C, indicating that glucose conversion to fructose was favoured over weak Lewis acid and/or base sites associated with the zirconia support, while fructose dehydration and HMF formation was favoured over Brönsted acidic WOx clusters. Aqueous phase reforming of steam exploded rice straw hydrolysate and condensate was explored heterogeneously for the first time over a 10 wt% WZ catalyst, resulting in excellent HMF yields as high as 15% under mild reaction conditions.
Bibliographical note© 2014 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).
Funding: EPSRC (EP/K000616/1; EP/G007594/4 and Leadership Fellowship); BBSRC (BB/J013838/1; BB/J004545/1); Royal Society for an Industry Fellowship; CAPES (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior); CNPq (Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Cientifico e Tecnológico); and UFPR (Universidade Federal do Paraná).
- solid acid