The group of Yuya TACHIBANA from Gunma University, Schoolf of Science and Engineering, has reported on a process to synthesize terephtalic acid from furfural. To this end, biobased furfural was oxidised and dehydrated to give maleic anhydride, which was further reacted with biobased furan to give its Diels-Alder (DA) adduct. The dehydration of the DA adduct gave phthalic anhydride, which was converted via phthalic acid and dipotassium phthalate to terephtalic acid (TPA). Mass spectrometric evicence of the carbon isotope ratio showed that the TPA is completely derived from furfural.

Yuya Tachibana et al., Scientific Reports doi:10.1038/srep08249