ACS Omega. 2022 Dec 29;8(1):1047-1059. doi: 10.1021/acsomega.2c06409. eCollection 2023 Jan 10.
5-Hydroxymethyl furfural (5-HMF) is a potential platform molecule with multidimensional applications and can be produced from biomass-based hexose sugars. In the present article, polyethyleneimine (PEI)-functionalized polymeric Bronsted acid ionic liquid (PolyE-IL) catalyst has been explored for fructose dehydration in the presence of isopropyl alcohol (IPA) as a green and low-boiling-point (LBP) organic solvent. The use of homogeneous PolyE-IL catalyst provides several specific advantages in terms of high yield, conversion, selectivity, ease of catalyst separation, recycle and reuse, and so forth. PEI with various Bronsted acid counterions such as H2SO4, H3PO4, TsOH, TfOH, and TFA provides the corresponding variables of PolyE-IL such as [PEI]+[HSO3]-, [PEI]+[H2PO4]-, [PEI]+[CF3CO2]-, [PEI]+[TfO]-, and [PEI]+[TsO]-, which are tested for fructose dehydration in the presence of IPA. Of the tested catalysts, only PolyE-IL with [HSO4]-, [CF3CO2]-, [TfO]-, and [TsO]- counterions showed the formation of 5-HMF. [PEI]+[HSO4]- showed the maximum yield of 5-HMF (61%) and selectivity (70%) with (87%) fructose conversion. Thus, further process optimization study was conducted to obtain the maximum yield, conversion, and selectivity. The intensified process provides a maximum yield of 5-HMF of 75% with 85% fructose conversion and 90% selectivity. The catalyst recyclability study showed the consistency in 5-HMF yield (75%), conversion (85%), and selectivity (90%) for five consecutive recycle runs. However, the study of reaction kinetics showed the first-order kinetics with an activation energy of 12.4 kJ/mole by using [PEI]+[HSO4]- catalyst. Thus, the use of an easily recyclable and robust catalyst provides an efficient route for production of 5-HMF in the presence of a green solvent.