Bifunctional Role of Hydrogen in Aqueous Hydrogenative Ring Rearrangement of Furfurals over Co@Co-NC

Xiang Li, Likang Zhang, Rong Zhou, Shixia Chen, Jun Wang, Zheling Zeng, Ji Jun Zou, Shuguang Deng, Qiang Deng

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


Bifunctional hydrogenation and acid catalysis in aqueous solvents over reduced metal-supported solid acids is a common method for tandem reactions of biomass derivates. Traditionally, hydrogen (H2) was used as the reductant for the hydrogenation steps and rarely reported as a promoter in the acid-catalyzed steps. Herein, Co-embedded N-doped carbon (Co@Co-NCs) is used for the bifunctional catalytic conversion of furfurals into cyclopentanols. In addition to being a reductant for the hydrogenation step over the Co nanoparticle core, H2can act as a catalyst to induce the acid-base transformation of the Co-NC shell from Lewis acid-base pairs into Brønsted acid-base pairs via heterolysis and a subsequent water-mediated mechanism, which largely promotes the acid-catalyzed step. Compared with Co/C, Co@Co-NCs show a better bifunctional catalytic performance with cyclopentanol yields above 90%. This study redefines the role of H2, which has important implications for many reduction reactions with water as a solvent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7321-7329
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number22
StatePublished - Jun 6 2022


  • Co@Co-NC
  • bifunctional catalysis
  • biomass upgrading
  • hydrogenation catalysis H-promoted acid catalysis

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


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