4 years ago

Mechanism of Microwave-Assisted Pyrolysis of Glucose to Furfural Revealed by Isotopic Tracer and Quantum Chemical Calculations

Mechanism of Microwave-Assisted Pyrolysis of Glucose to Furfural Revealed by Isotopic Tracer and Quantum Chemical Calculations
Liwei Bao, Wei Wei, Lei Shi, Lingzhao Kong, Hu Luo, Yuhan Sun, Shenggang Li
Glucose labeled with 13C or 18O was used to investigate the mechanism of its conversion into furfural by microwaveassisted pyrolysis. The isotopic content and location in furfural were determined from GC–MS and 13C NMR spectroscopic measurements and data analysis. The results suggest that the carbon skeleton in furfural is mainly derived from C1 to C5 of glucose, whereas the C of the aldehyde group and the O of the furan ring in furfural primarily originate from C1 and O5 of glucose, respectively. For the first time, the source of O in the furan ring of furfural was elucidated directly by experiment, providing results that are consistent with predictions from recent quantum chemical calculations. Moreover, further theoretical calculations indicate substantially lower energy barriers than previous predictions by considering the potential catalytic effect of formic acid, which is one of the pyrolysis products. The catalytic role of formic acid is further confirmed by experimental evidence. An origin story: Microwave-assisted pyrolysis of isotope-labeled glucose revealed the source of the carbon and oxygen of furfural. Quantum chemical calculations and further experimental evidence demonstrated that formic acid catalyzed the formation of furfural by reducing the energy barriers for decarbonization and dehydration.

Publisher URL: http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/resolve/doi

DOI: 10.1002/cssc.201700621

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