HMF is an organic compound derived from plant-based sugars (i.e. glucose & fructose). As a platform chemical, it can be processed into various biochemicals that are currently still derived from fossil fuels. HMF is highly water soluble and can be processed into diesel-like liquid biofuels ("furanic biofuels"). These are in some ways superior to ethanol. For example, compared to ethanol, 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF) has a higher energy density, has a higher boiling point (by 20°C), and is not soluble in water. DMF is similar to gasoline and is compatible with the existing liquid transportation fuel infrastructure, having already been used as a gasoline additive.
- PREPARATION OF HYDROXYMETHYLFURFURAL (issued 1958)
- Manufacture of furfuryl alcohol (issued 1978)
- Process for manufacturing 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (issued 1982)
- Here is a study from the Institute of Chemistry at the University of Rostock, Germany: Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) Biomass-Derived Platform Chemicals: Thermodynamic Studies on the Conversion of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural into Bulk Intermediates
- Production using microwave: HMF can be produced from fructose by microwaving, according to this study: File:Paper1829.pdf. The elevated reaction temperatures of 150-180°C require this to take place under high pressure.
- Using formic acid: Here is an article that describes the "Efficient Production of the Liquid Fuel 2,5-Dimethylfuran from Fructose Using Formic Acid as a Reagent". Formic acid is readily available as a organic chemical from pyrolysis.
- An a article in Technology Review (link here) reports on research about a new catalyst (chromium chloride) that can get the most HMF from glucose and works at temperatures of 80 °C for fructose and 100 °C for glucose.
- Treehugger: "Yet Another BioFuel Option: 2,5-Dimethylfuran"
- Article in Technology Review: Plastics from Sugar - New catalysts convert glucose into a valuable chemical feedstock.