Carbon-carbon bond forming reactions of biomass derived aldehydes
Hoskins, Travis Justin Christopher
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The Knoevenagel reaction was applied to form a carbon-carbon double bond between the aldehydes (HMF, furfual) and an alpha di-carbonyl compound. The alpha di-carbonyl compound used was malonic acid, which can be bio-derived from glucose along fermentation routes. The effects of solvents (THF, water, ethanol, isopropanol, ethyl ether, toluene) and catalysts (e.g. homogeneous and heterogeneous amines, solid basic oxides) on the yields of alpha-beta unsaturated acids were investigated. It was found that the homogeneous amines worked well in THF solvent (90-100% conversion, 99% selectivity for furfural and HMF), while the poly(styrene) supported ethylenediamine gave a higher conversion and selectivity for HMF (65± 5%, 99% selectivity) over furfural (58 ± 7%, 99% selectivity). This trend was also present in competition reactions where both HMF and furfural were reacted in the same vessel. á-â Unsaturated mono-acids for both HMF and furfural were identified as minor side products. However, levulinic acid did not work as well under the conditions studied. Lastly, among the solvents studied, several caused precipitation of the Knoevenagel products.