Facile preparation protocol of magnetic mesoporous carbon acid catalysts via soft-template self-assembly method and their applications in conversion of xylose into furfural

Philos Trans A Math Phys Eng Sci. 2021 Nov;379(2209):20200349. doi: 10.1098/rsta.2020.0349. Epub 2021 Sep 13.


Furfural is a valuable dehydration product of xylose. It has a broad spectrum of industrial applications. Various catalysts containing SO3H have been reported for the conversion of xylose into furfural. Nevertheless, the multi-step preparation is tedious, and the catalysts are usually fine powders that are difficult to separate from the suspension. Novel magnetic mesoporous carbonaceous materials (Fe/MC) were successfully prepared via facile self-assembly in a single step. A facile subsequent hydrothermal sulfonation of Fe/MC with concentrated H2SO4 at 180°C gave mesoporous carbon bearing SO3H groups (SO3H@Fe/MC) without loss of the magnetic properties. Various techniques were employed to characterize the SO3H@Fe/MC as a candidate catalyst. It showed strong magnetism due to its Fe particles and possessed a 243 m2 g-1 BET-specific surface area and a 90% mesopore volume. The sample contained 0.21 mmol g-1 of SO3H and gave a high conversion and an acceptable furfural yield and selectivity (100%, 45% and 45%, respectively) when used at 170°C for 1 h with γ-valerolactone as solvent. The catalyst was easily separated after the catalytic tests by using a magnet, confirming sufficient magneticstability. This article is part of the theme issue 'Bio-derived and bioinspired sustainable advanced materials for emerging technologies (part 2)'.

Keywords: acid catalyst; furfural; magnetic; mesoporous carbon; soft-template self-assembly; xylose.