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Synthesis of Furanic Ethers from Furfuryl Alcohol for Biofuel Production

Quan Cao, Wei Zhang, Shengjun Luo, Rongbo Guo,
Published: 12 July 2021

Abstract: Furanic ethers including furfuryl ether (FE) and tetrahydrofurfuryl ether (TFE) are considered as boosters for raising the octane number and cetane number, respectively. In this work, heterogeneous catalysts are used to synthesize FE from furfuryl alcohol and are found to be effective, and then they hydrogenate FE into TFE. Among the solid acids including HZSM-5, SiO2–Al2O3, SiO2, and Al2O3, it was discovered that the SiO2–Al2O3 complex with about 2.0% Al2O3 content exhibited excellent activity with 69% ethyl furfuryl ether (EFE) yield achieved. SiO2–Al2O3 demonstrated a decrease in its activity after being recycled six times. However, after calcination, SiO2–Al2O3 regained its activity. SiO2–Al2O3 maintained its activity and stability due to the Lewis acid site and the large pore size. In situ hydrogenation of EFE into ethyl tetrahydrofuran ether was performed using Ru/C, Pd/C, Pd/Al2O3, Raney Ni, Ni/Al2O3, Ni/CeO2, and Ni/SiO2 catalysts. Only Raney Ni demonstrated both high activity and stability.
Keywords: Furanic / Raney / furfuryl ether / SiO2 / Al2O3 / alcohol / TFE

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