(39h) Scale-up of a Catalytic Membrane Reactor for the Production of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural from Lignocellulosic Biomass
Significant efforts have been dedicated to developing economically viable processes for converting lignocellulosic biomass to biofuels, bio-based products and intermediates. 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is a versatile platform chemical that can be produced from lignocellulosic biomass. The commercial viability for the production of HMF lies in its cost-effective production and separation from the reaction stream. This work explores the potential for the scale up of a catalytic membrane reactor to the liter (L) scale for the production and separation of HMF using agricultural residues such as wheat and rice straws, as well as cornstovers.Our previous results have demonstrated the feasibility for the production of HMF at the 0.01-0.1 L scale with over 70% yield from cellulose and pre-treated cornstover substrates in ionic liquid (IL) and IL/H2O mixed solvents. Our designed polymeric solid acid catalysts were immobilized on porous membrane substrates to increase the surface area and promote the product separation. These catalysts consist of two adjacent polymer nanostructures, one sulfonic acid chain for catalyzing the biomass substrate, one poly (ionic liquid) chain for solubilizing cellulose and enhancing the catalytic activity. Here a semi-continuous catalytic membrane reactor was designed and tested for the production and separation of HMF simultaneously at the larger scale in IL/GVL/H2O mixed solvents at mild temperature of 110-140oC. Over 50% of HMF yield from cornstover biomass has been achieved.