Titanium Phosphate Grafted on Mesoporous SBA-15 Silica as a Solid Acid Catalyst for the Synthesis of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural from Glucose

Wenze Guo, Emiel J. M. Hensen, Wei Qi, Hero Heeres, Jun Yue*

*Corresponding author for this work

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The grafting of titania on SBA-15 followed by its phosphation was presented to prepare a mesoporous Lewis–Brønsted bifunctional solid acid catalyst for the tandem conversion of glucose via fructose to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF). Titania was dispersed on SBA-15 as an amorphous surface layer containing abundant coordinatively unsaturated tetrahedral Ti ions, which was reactive and readily transformed upon phosphation into a new titanium phosphate phase with the chemical formula identified as Ti2O3(H2PO4)2·2H2O. The ordered mesoporous structure was well maintained after three modification cycles, affording a desirable surface area of over 300 m2/g. The SBA-15-supported titanium phosphate layer affords higher overall acidity and Brønsted to Lewis acid ratio, compared with the conventional post-phosphated bulk anatase titania. The tetrahedral Ti ions and the adjacent protonated phosphate groups on the titanium phosphate layer could form Lewis–Brønsted acid pairs at molecular level proximity, which largely enhanced the selective tandem catalysis for glucose conversion via fructose to HMF. An optimized HMF yield of 71% was achieved at 160 °C in a water–methyltetrahydrofuran biphasic system over the SBA-15-supported titanium phosphate catalyst. The catalyst exhibited good hydrothermal stability with a rather limited silicon and phosphate leaching, and no distinct pore collapse or performance loss over three sequential reaction runs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)10157–10168
Number of pages12
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Issue number31
Early online date26-Jul-2022
Publication statusPublished - 8-Aug-2022


  • 5-hydroxymethylfurfural
  • glucose
  • SBA-15
  • solid acid

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