Furfural is an important chemical and also a building block for production of drop-in hydrocarbon fuels and can be produced from cellulosic biomass such as woody crops and bagasse by hydrolysis and dehydration with mineral acids. However, furfural yields employing current technologies are limited by rapid degradation of furfural as it is formed to humins and other products. Better knowledge of key furfural production and degradation mechanisms would aid in improving yields. Therefore, in this study, kinetic models for furfural production and degradation were developed for dilute acid hydrolysis and dehydration of maple wood over a range of reaction conditions. These models were then applied to define combinations of temperatures, acid loadings, reaction times, and solids loadings to maximize furfural yields, and the predictions were tested experimentally.
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