High efficient conversion of furfural to 2-methylfuran over Ni-Cu/Al2O3 catalyst with formic acid as a hydrogen donor

Zhaolin Fu, Ze Wang, Weigang Lin, Wenli Song, Songgeng Li

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articleResearchpeer-review


Conversion of furfural to 2-methylfuran over Cu/Al2O3, Ni/Al2O3 and Ni-Cu/Al2O3 catalysts were investigated with formic acid as a hydrogen donor. Ni/Al2O3 showed a high catalytic activity but a moderate selectivity to 2-methylfuran. Contrarily, Cu/Al2O3 showed a low catalytic activity but a high selectivity for carbonyl reduction. Over the bimetallic catalysts Ni-10%Cu/Al2O3, by increasing Ni content, more furfural was converted with the reduction of carbonyl primarily. The effect of reaction solvent and the fraction of formic acid were also studied. The result showed that isopropanol solvent could contribute to the formation of furfuryl alcohol with 96% selectivity through the transfer hydrogenation process. Formic acid could decompose to H2 and CO2, remarkably promoting the hydrogenolysis of furfuryl alcohol to 2-methylfuran. Finally, 100% conversion and 92 mol% yield of 2-methylfuran could be obtained over 10%Ni-10%Cu/Al2O3. It was attributed to the synergic effect of Ni-Cu metals, with increased affinity for carbonyl reduction.
Original languageEnglish
JournalApplied Catalysis A: General
Pages (from-to)248-255
Publication statusPublished - 2017


  • Catalysis
  • Process Chemistry and Technology
  • 2-Methylfuran
  • Bimetallic catalyst
  • Furfural
  • Hydrogen donor
  • Hydrogenation

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