Bimetallic Aluminum- and Niobium-Doped MCM-41 for Efficient Conversion of Biomass-Derived 2-Methyltetrahydrofuran to Pentadienes

Angew Chem Int Ed Engl. 2022 Dec 19;61(51):e202212164. doi: 10.1002/anie.202212164. Epub 2022 Nov 17.


The production of conjugated C4-C5 dienes from biomass can enable the sustainable synthesis of many important polymers and liquid fuels. Here, we report the first example of bimetallic (Nb, Al)-atomically doped mesoporous silica, denoted as AlNb-MCM-41, which affords quantitative conversion of 2-methyltetrahydrofuran (2-MTHF) to pentadienes with a high selectivity of 91 %. The incorporation of AlIII and NbV sites into the framework of AlNb-MCM-41 has effectively tuned the nature and distribution of Lewis and Brønsted acid sites within the structure. Operando X-ray absorption, diffuse reflectance infrared and solid-state NMR spectroscopy collectively reveal the molecular mechanism of the conversion of adsorbed 2-MTHF over AlNb-MCM-41. Specifically, the atomically-dispersed NbV sites play an important role in binding 2-MTHF to drive the conversion. Overall, this study highlights the potential of hetero-atomic mesoporous solids for the manufacture of renewable materials.

Keywords: 2-Methyltetrahydrofuran; Cleavage of C−O Bond; Niobium Sites; Pentadienes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Alkadienes*
  • Aluminum
  • Catalysis
  • Niobium* / chemistry


  • Niobium
  • Aluminum
  • Alkadienes
  • MCM-41