434038 Progress on Furfural Production Using Xylose-Rich Hydrolysate from Hardwood Autohydrolysis Pretreatment

Wednesday, November 11, 2015: 1:50 PM
250C (Salt Palace Convention Center)
Lu Liu, Hou-min Chang, Hasan Jameel and Sunkyu Park, Department of Forest Biomaterials, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC

2015 AIChE Annual Meeting

International Congress on Energy (ICE)

T4A03 Chemical Conversion Processes in Forest/Plant Biorefineries

November 8-13, 2015

Salt Lake City, UT

Progress on furfural production using xylose-rich hydrolysate from hardwood autohydrolysis pretreatment


Lu Liu*, Hou-min Chang, Hasan Jameel, Sunkyu Park

Department of Forest Biomaterials, North Carolina State University, Raleigh, NC 27695, USA

                                                               * Presenting author: llui@ncsu.edu

Furfural, the dehydration product of xylose, can serve as a sustainable substitute for petroleum-based building blocks for fine chemicals and plastics. To produce furfural from biorefinery system, our study focuses on establishing an efficient and environmentally friendly method using autohydrolysis hydrolyzate from biomass.

A batch process with a vapor-releasing reactor, where furfural can be released immediately after the reaction, has been used. It was observed that by using 2% xylose solution without catalyst, over 99% on xylose conversion and approximately 65% on furfural yield were achieved. When using autolydrolysis hydrolyzate that contains more than 80% of xylose-oligomer, a final furfural yield of over 70% was observed. It is considered that the by-products from autohydrolysis such as acetic acid act as catalyst in xylose dehydration process, and the pre-existed furfural in hydrolyzate makes it an even better source for furfural production comparing to pure xylose solution.

However, in a batch process, furfural generation rate decreased exponentially along with the reaction time, which makes the conversion inefficient. A lab-scale distillation showed that the furfural recovery yield is unsatisfactory when xylose concentration in the feed is low, which makes the whole process less attractive. In order to improve furfural production, a continuous reactor with constant and high concentration xylose solution as feed was used. The optimized condition for furfural production in a continuous reactor and the possibility of directly using xylose-rich hydrolyzate will also be discussed in details.

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