Plasmon-enhanced furfural hydrogenation catalyzed by stable carbon-coated copper nanoparticles driven from metal–organic frameworks†
The selective hydrogenation of furfural (FAL) to furfuryl alcohol (FOL) under mild conditions using a non-noble metal catalyst is highly desirable in biomass conversion. Commercial FOL production over a Cu-based catalyst suffers from harsh reaction conditions and significant deactivation due to catalyst instability. Herein, we report stable Cu nanoparticles encapsulated in a few layers of carbon prepared by the pyrolysis of the metal–organic framework HKUST-1 in H2/Ar, which exhibited excellent catalytic performance and stability in FAL hydrogenation under visible light irradiation. The Cu nanoparticles could absorb visible light and generate photoexcited electrons due to the localized surface plasmon resonance (LSPR) effect, and these electrons transferred the energy to the molecules absorbed on the Cu NP surface, inducing effective dissociation of H2 and hydrogenation of FAL. This study provides guidance for designing stable Cu-based LSPR photocatalysts and a mild route for biomass conversion in compliance with green chemistry.