Nanomaterials (Basel). 2023 Jan 10;13(2):285. doi: 10.3390/nano13020285.
A rational design of transition metal catalysts to achieve selective hydrogenation of furfural (FFR) to tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol (THFA) under facile conditions is a promising option. In this work, a series of Ni catalysts were synthesized by controlled thermal treatment of Ni-based metal-organic frameworks (MOFs), with the purpose of modulating the interface of nickel nanoparticles by the reticular coordination in MOF precursors. The catalytic performance indicates that Ni/C catalyst obtained at 400 °C exhibits efficient conversion of FFR (>99%) and high selectivity to THFA (96.1%), under facile conditions (80 °C, 3 MPa H2, 4.0 h). The decomposition of MOF at low temperatures results in highly dispersed Ni0 particles and interfacial charge transfer from metal to interstitial carbon atoms induced by coordination in MOF. The electron-deficient Ni species on the Ni surface results in an electropositive surface of Ni nanoparticles in Ni/C-400, which ameliorates furfural adsorption and enhances the hydrogen heterolysis process, finally achieving facile hydrogenation of FFR to THFA.