429513 High-Yield Production of Furans from Lignocellulosic Biomass Under Mild Conditions in a Biphasic Process with Molten Salt Hydrate

Wednesday, November 11, 2015: 1:10 PM
250C (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Chang Geun Yoo, Shuting Zhang and Xuejun Pan, Biological Systems Engineering, University of Wisconsin-Madison, Madison, WI

This presentation is to report an innovative biphasic process for converting lignocellulosic biomass to furans (furfural from pentoses and bromomethyl furfural (BMF) from hexoses) with high yield under mild conditions (100-130 °C and 1-3 h). The biphasic system consists of an aqueous phase of molten salt hydrate, in which cellulose and hemicelluloses in the biomass are converted to BMF and furfural, respectively, without pretreatment and an organic phase of extraction solvent, into which the furans formed in the aqueous phase are immediately extracted to avoid undesired further decomposition of the products or condensation to humins. Meanwhile, lignin in the biomass is depolymerized and separated as a solid residue from the system, which is potentially a good feedstock for lignin coproducts. The process is robust to handle different types of biomass, including corn stover, switchgrass, aspen, poplar and Douglas fir. Under the optimal conditions investigated, the molar yields of furfural and BMF were ~70% and ~85%, respectively.

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