Recycling of coal residues in Brazil

Researchers at the University of Wisconsin-Madison have developed a new process for the synthesis of aromatic hydroxymethylfurfuraldehyde (HMF) from fructose derived from agricultural products, characterized by improved yield and easier product extraction. The reaction begins with dehydration of the fructose, carried out in the aqueous phase in the presence of an acid catalyst (hydrochloric acid, acidic ion exchange resin), added with dimethylsulfoxide to avoid side reactions. The researchers increased the solubility of HMF in the reaction solvent - methyl isobutyl ketone MIBK (Methyl IsoButyl Ketone) - by adding small amounts of butanol-2 to it, which facilitates the extraction of HMF from the aqueous phase during the process and before he reacts with it. The product is recovered after distillation of the solvent, the low boiling point of the MIBK facilitating the extraction of the HMF.
HMF is a basic molecule for making organic compounds (plastics, fuels).

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