Liquid Phase Furfural Oxidation under Uncontrolled pH in Batch and Flow Conditions: The Role of in Situ Formed Base

Catalysts, vol. 10, pg. 73 (2020)

Selective oxidation of furfural to furoic acid was performed with pure oxygen in aqueous phase under mild conditions and uncontrolled pH using hydrotalcite-supported gold nanoparticles as catalyst. Hydrotalcites with different Mg: Al ratios were tested as support. The effects of reaction time, temperature and furfural/catalyst ratio were evaluated. The catalyst Au/HT 4:1 showed the highest activity and selectivity to the desired product, achieving a complete conversion of furfural to furoic acid after 2 h at 110 °C. Further, stability tests were carried out in a continuous stirred-tank reactor and a progressive deactivation of the catalyst due to the leaching of Mg2+ cations from the support inducing changes in the pH of the reaction medium was observed.