Levoglucosan transformation and kinetics of hemicellulose hydrolysis using carbon supported solid acid catalysts
Ormsby, Richard Venson
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Reusable carbon based solid acid catalysts are less expensive and potentially more sustainable than enzymatic and liquid acid catalysts used in biomass conversion processes utilized in a commercial biorefinery. Sulfonated pine chip biochar catalyst effectively hydrolyzed model xylan (hemicellulose) and levoglucosan into xylose and glucose in small bench scale bio-reactors with a maximum yield (compared to a liquid acid catalyst) of approximately 88% and 80% conversion respectively after 2 hours at 120 oC. Fast pyrolysis oil was used to generate a concentrated levoglucosan feedstock. Simultaneous hydrolysis and esterification of fast-pyrolysis bio-oil resulted in the generation of glucose, ethers, and esters, but in lower concentration compared to model compound experimentation.