A solid iron salt catalyst for selective conversion of biomass-derived C5 sugars to furfural

Kai Sun, Yuewen Shao, Peng Liu, Lijun Zhang, Guoming Gao, Dehua Dong, Shu Zhang, Guangzhi Hu, Leilei Xu, Xun Hu

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

28 Citations (Scopus)


Salt is widely applied as catalyst but it is difficult to separate the soluble salt from the reaction medium. To solve this issue, in this study, a solid salt catalyst (FeClx-D008) was prepared by using a solid acidic resin (D008) and FeCl3 via a partial ion exchange method as the demonstration of proof of concept. The introduction of FeCl3 onto D008 replaced some Brønsted acid sites with newly generated Lewis acid sites. The synergistic effect of the Brønsted and Lewis acidic sites rendered the catalyst with excellent catalytic selectivity for the production of furfural from C5 sugars (highest yield: 96.3%). The kinetic study showed that the introduction of FeClx onto D008 enhanced the activation energy (AE) from xylose to polymer while lowered the AE from xylose to furfural. The FeClx species could strongly coordinate with the -SO3 group in D008 with the high resistivity to leaching. The successful immobilization of FeClx species on D008 solved the issue for separation of soluble salts from the reaction medium, which is also an attempt for application of resin-based solid salt as the catalyst in acid-catalyzed reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Article number120990
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 15 Sept 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Acid catalyst
  • Brønsted acid sites
  • Lewis acid sites
  • Solid salt catalyst
  • Xylose and furfural

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