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The synthesis of primary amines via reductive amination in the presence of NH3 and H2, as a green and sustainable process, has attracted much attention. In this paper, we prepared series of Ni/SiO2 catalysts with deposition-precipitation and impregnation methods, and their catalytic performances on the reductive amination of a biomass derived compound of furfural to produce furfurylamine were studied. The catalytic activity and the yield were correlated to the structure and the surface properties of catalysts largely. The Ni/SiO2 is of high Lewis acidity and small Ni particle with numerous large Ni flat step surface showed high activity and selectivity, it afforded a reaction rate of 12.8 h−1 and a high yield to furfurylamine around 98%. These results are superior to the most non-noble metal catalysts reported so far. Moreover, the reaction route was examined with the unit control reactions of the intermediate. To produce furfurylamine selectively, the most suitable catalyst should have the moderate but not the highest activity in activation of hydrogen and hydrogenation in the reductive amination of furfural. This work provides some useful information for the catalytic reductive amination of aldehydes both in the design of catalyst and the reaction route.

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Publication history

Received: 08 July 2022
Revised: 09 August 2022
Accepted: 16 August 2022
Published: 21 September 2022

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© Tsinghua University Press 2022

Acknowledgements

Acknowledgements

We gratefully acknowledge the financial support from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (Nos. 22172155 and 22072142) and the Youth Innovation Promotion Association CAS (No. 2016206).

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Reprints and Permission requests may be sought directly from editorial office.
Email: nanores@tup.tsinghua.edu.cn

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