Greener synthesis of Cu-MOF-74 and its catalytic use for the generation of vanillin†
A greener synthesis of Cu-MOF-74 was obtained, for the first time, in methanol as the unique solvent and at room temperature. Full characterisation of the MOF material showed its purity and also its nanocrystalline nature. Complete activation (150 °C for 1 h and 10−3 bar) of Cu-MOF-74 afforded unsaturated Cu metal sites and this was corroborated by in situ DRIFT spectroscopy. The access to these Cu open metal sites was tested for the catalytic transformation of trans-ferulic acid to vanillin (yield of 71% and 97% selectivity) and a plausible catalytic reaction mechanism was postulated based on quantum chemical calculations.