Synergistic conversion of glucose into 5-hydroxymethylfurfural in ionic liquid-water mixtures

Xinhua Qi, Masaru Watanabe, Taku M. Aida, Richard L. Smith

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Citations (Scopus)


A method for converting glucose into 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) without using chromium-containing catalysts was developed. The method uses ionic liquid-water mixtures with a ZrO 2 catalyst. Addition of a certain amount of water (10-50wt.%) into the 1,3-dialkylimidazolium chloride ionic liquid promoted the formation of 5-HMF from glucose compared with that in either pure water or in the pure ionic liquid. A 5-HMF yield of 53% was obtained within 10min at 200°C in a 50:50w/w% 1-hexyl-3-methyl imidazolium chloride-water mixture in the presence of ZrO 2. The 1,3-dialkylimidazolium ionic liquids having Cl - or HSO4- anions were effective for promoting 5-HMF formation. Addition of protic solvents such as methanol and ethanol to the ionic liquid had a similar synergistic effect as water and promoted fructose and 5-HMF formation. The results reported in this work can be extended to other fields, where the ratio of ionic liquid and protic solvent can be adjusted to promote the desired reactions.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)224-228
Number of pages5
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - 2012 Apr


  • 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural
  • Biomass
  • Glucose
  • Ionic liquid
  • Water

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal


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