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(682a) Solvent System for Effective Production of Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) with Potential for Process Integration into Current High Fructose Corn Syrup (HFCS) Infrastructure

Motagamwala, A. H., University of Michigan
Huang, K., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Maravelias, C. T., University of Wisconsin-Madison
Dumesic, J. A., University of Wisconsin-Madison
It is essential to develop and implement technologies to produce renewable fuels and chemicals to limit the net carbon emission and thereby limit global warming to 1.5 oC above pre-industrial levels. This formidable task requires development of new technologies and processes that are compatible with the current infrastructure as well as have the potential to be integrated in bio-refineries. Commercialization of new processes for production of renewable fuels and chemicals has faced significant challenges mainly due to the large capital investment required to build these facilities and the associated risk with unproven technologies. Thus, there is a need to develop processes that not only have low risk and require low investment for near-term implementation, but that also have potential for long term significant improvement.

We report production of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a valuable platform molecule from biomass-derived carbohydrates at high yields (>90%) and with excellent carbon balance (>95%) using an inexpensive solvent system composed of acetone and water. We demonstrate that HMF, a thermally unstable molecule, can be separated from this low boiling solvent system with high recovery (96%) and purity (99%). We show that fructose is selectively dehydrated in this solvent system from a mixture of glucose and fructose, a property that can be leveraged to integrate the proposed process with current processes for production of high fructose corn syrup. Techno-economic analysis indicates that utilizing fructose as feedstock leads to low investment (16 MM$) and produces HMF at a minimum selling price (MSP) of $ 1710/ton. The MSP can be further reduced to $ 1460/ton by changing the feedstock to glucose.