(583dc) Enhanced Co-Production of Fuel Precursors From Lignocellulosic Biomass Using THF As a Novel Co-Solvent | AIChE

(583dc) Enhanced Co-Production of Fuel Precursors From Lignocellulosic Biomass Using THF As a Novel Co-Solvent


Nagane, N. - Presenter, University of California, Riverside
Cai, C. M., University of California
Kumar, R., University of California, Riverside
Zhang, T., Center for Environmental Research and Technology, University of California
Wyman, C., University of California

Petroleum is the primary feedstock for liquid fuels production and also provides a platform for synthesis of valuable chemicals and polymers. Recent increases in prices of petroleum products and concern about the impact of fossil emissions of carbon dioxide on global climate change make it important to develop sustainable routes for production of fuels and chemicals. Furfural, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), and levulinic acid (LA) are important fuel precursors that can be converted into drop-in fuels that are compatible with the existing fuel infrastructure.  Although some research has been carried out on the production of these fuel precursors from simple sugars and their conversion to hydrocarbons, knowledge of fuel precursor production from lignocellulosic biomass such as agricultural and forestry residues and woody and herbaceous energy crops at economically attractive yields is limited.  A major obstacle is that high co-production yields of furfural, HMF, and LA has been hindered from the degradation of furfural that occurs long before sufficient LA and HMF yields are obtained.  In addition, both furfural and HMF are highly prone to losses by cross-polymerization, resinification, and hydrolysis reactions. In response to this challenge, we have developed a novel co-solvent system using tetrahydrofuran (THF) that performs biomass pretreatment, hydrolysis, and dehydration reactions in a single step to allow the targeted production of fuel precursors from hemicellulose and cellulose. We explore here the manipulation of solvent:water ratios and multi-stage reaction schemes to enhance the co-production of furfural, HMF, and LA from biomass.  The performance of THF co-solvent system is evaluated for application to different lignocellulosic materials over a range of reaction conditions that give the best results and better understand key drivers to advance this novel co-solvent technology.