Energy crisis and environment problem have raised the concerns on the sustainability in the world. Biomass as a renewable and pollution free resource was considered to be one of the most potential sources of energy. Wheat straw converted to a series of fuels and chemicals was researched recently. The study was performed under mild conditions and a mixture of ethyl levulinate and other oxygenated chemicals were generated with an acidic ionic liquid catalyst in ethanol medium by a one-pot operation. The highest conversion rate of 85.5% was obtained for a reaction carried out at 200°C for 60 min in ethanol (Solid : Solvent = 1:15) using 26wt% acidic ionic liquid 1-methyl-3-(4-sulfobutyl) imidazole bisulfate as the catalyst, and the relative percentage content of ethyl levulinate was 28.11% in liquid products under the optimal conditions. Without the acidic ionic liquid catalyst, conversion rate of wheat straw and yield of ethyl levulinate were only 22.33% and 3.83%. In addition, during the experiment, phenols were mainly derived from the degradation of lignin, but compounds else include aldehydes, ketones, esters, carboxylic acids and some other oxygenated chemicals were from the degradation of hemicellulose and cellulose principally. The aim of this paper is to provide a new route to prepare ethyl levulinate and utilization of environment-friendly catalysts for liquefaction.
Keywords: Straw Biomass, Sulfonate Ionic liquid, Liquefaction, Degradation, Ethyl Levulinate