Simple basic zirconium carbonate: low temperature catalysis for hydrogen transfer of biomass-derived carboxides†
A simple basic zirconium carbonate (BZC), which can be produced on a large scale in industry, was studied for hydrogen transfer of biomass-derived carboxides and exhibited excellent catalytic properties at low temperatures, especially for the conversion of furfural (FUR) to furfuryl alcohol (FFA). With the catalyst, the reduction reaction of FUR was efficiently performed at low temperatures (below 100 °C) and an FFA yield of 98.66% was obtained even at room temperature. When the temperature reached 180 °C, the yield of FFA quickly reached 90.29% within 15 minutes. During the reaction, the changes of the functional groups of the reactants and products were monitored by in situ ATR-IR spectroscopy in real time, which provided a basis for the proposed reaction mechanism. Further, the ATR-IR spectroscopy and XPS results of the different catalysts showed that BZC has the strongest acidity among all the comparative catalysts, which is consistent with its best catalytic performance. In addition, reaction kinetics were also studied.