Simultaneous dehydration of biomass-derived sugars to 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF) and reduction of graphene oxide in ethyl lactate: one pot dual chemistry†
Low yield of chemicals is often identified as a major obstacle for the complete utilization of bioresources as a source of important chemicals and thereby limits their application in industries. The issue of low yield can be partially compensated by integrated processes, i.e., production of two or more chemicals from the same biomass using single or multistep processes. Herein, a simple pathway for simultaneous production of 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (HMF) from biomass-derived sugars by dehydration of fructose (molar yield 76.3%) using graphene oxide (GO) as acid catalyst and choline chloride (ChoCl) as additive in ethyl lactate is demonstrated. Moreover, during the course of reaction GO was reduced to produce six-layered graphene nanosheets (96% recovery). Furthermore, the solvent was recycled after recovery of both products and successfully reused for subsequent production of the two chemicals with high purity.