Catalytic Conversion of Hemicellulose Sugars to Furfural in Ionic Liquid Media

Thursday, November 11, 2010: 1:45 PM
251 A Room (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Akinwale Shittu1, Thehazhnan (Thihal) K. Ponnaiyan1, Bin Li2, Wenwen Zhang1, Sridhar Viamajala1 and Sasidhar Varanasi1, (1)Chemical & Environmental Engineering, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH, (2)Bioengineering, University of Toledo, Toledo, OH

In an attempt to provide alternatives to petroleum based building blocks used in petrochemical refining, Furan derivatives obtained from lignocellulosic biomass derived carbohydrates are viable substitutes. Preliminary work has been done by other researchers on converting glucose and fructose which are cellulose sugars into furanic compounds. But since lignocellulosic biomass contains cellulose and hemicellulose sugars, there is a need to develop a carbon neutral method of converting the hemicellulose sugars into furanic compounds.

Hemicellulose, which is a branched polymer that contains many different types of sugars accounts for a substantial part of lignocellulosic biomass as it is embedded in the cell walls of plants. One of the principal sugars obtained from Hemicellulose hydrolysis is xylose. In this paper, Chromium (II) chloride and Copper (II) chloride are combined with ionic liquids to facilitate the dehydration of xylose into furfural.

Furfural is a platform based chemical used in petrochemical refining, It has the potential to be used as a starting material for alternative liquid fuels and additives and it can be catalytically hydrogenated into 2-methyltetrahydrofuran (MTHF), which is an oxygenated fuel additive.


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