Selective hydrogenation of furfural to tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol over a Rh-loaded carbon catalyst in aqueous solution under mild conditions

Babasaheb M. Matsagar, Chang Yen Hsu, Season S. Chen, Tansir Ahamad, Saad M. Alshehri, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Kevin C.W. Wu

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

24 Citations (Scopus)


We describe the selective hydrogenation of furfural (FAL) into tetrahydrofurfuryl alcohol (THFA) under mild conditions (30 °C) in aqueous media using an Rh-loaded carbon (Rh/C) catalyst in a one-pot fashion. In FAL hydrogenation, the Rh/C catalyst showed a high THFA yield (92%) with 93% selectivity in aqueous media within 12 h, whereas the use of a dimethylacetamide (DMA) solvent system resulted in a 95% THFA yield within 32 h at 30 °C. The study of the effect of the solvent on FAL hydrogenation reveals that polar solvents showed higher THFA yields than a toluene solvent. The Rh/C catalyst used in this study exhibited higher activity compared to Ru/C, Pd/C, Ni/C derived from Ni-based metal-organic framework (Ni-MOF), and Ni-loaded carbon black (Ni/CB) catalysts in FAL-to-THFA hydrogenation. The Rh/C catalyst is characterized in detail using various characterization techniques such as TEM, XRD, N2-adsorption-desorption, XPS, and ICP-OES to understand its physicochemical properties. The Rh/C catalyst shows similar high THFA yields in the recycling experiment of FAL hydrogenation under ambient conditions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)293-301
Number of pages9
JournalSustainable Energy and Fuels
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2019

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Fuel Technology
  • Energy Engineering and Power Technology

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