The production of conjugated C4-C5 dienes from biomass can enable the sustainable synthesis of many important polymers and liquid fuels. Here, we report the first example of bimetallic (Nb, Al)-atomically doped mesoporous silica, denoted as AlNb-MCM-41, which affords quantitative conversion of 2-methyltetrahydrofuran (2-MTHF) to pentadienes with a high selectivity of 91%. The incorporation of Al(III) and Nb(V) sites into the framework of AlNb-MCM-41 has effectively tuned the nature and distribution of Lewis and Brønsted acid sites within the structure. Operando X-ray absorption, diffuse reflectance infrared and solid-state NMR spectroscopy collectively reveal the molecular mechanism of the conversion of adsorbed 2-MTHF over AlNb-MCM-41. Specifically, the atomically-dispersed Nb(V) sites play an important role in binding 2-MTHF to drive the conversion. Overall, this study highlights the potential of hetero-atomic mesoporous solids for the manufacture of renewable materials.
|Journal||Angewandte Chemie International Edition|
|Early online date||14 Oct 2022|
|Publication status||E-pub ahead of print - 14 Oct 2022|