Furfural and carboxylic acids from waste aqueous hemicellulose solutions from the pulp, paper and cellulosic ethanol industries
A new process to produce furfural and co-products of formic and acetic acids from waste aqueous hemicellulose solutions using a continuous two zone biphasic reactor has been developed by scientists from the US. The researchers have estimated that their approach uses 67% to 80% less energy than the current industrial processes to produce furfural.
An economic analysis indicates that furfural can be produced with this process at 366 US$ per metric ton, which is 25% of the selling price of furfural in the US market, say the team.
They have also demonstrated that high purity (>99%) of furfural, formic and acetic acids can be obtained, with a final recovery of more than 97%, 56%, and 88% of the furfural, formic acid and acetic acid, respectively.
R Xing, W Qi and G W Huber, Energy Environ. Sci., 2011, DOI: 10.1039/c1ee01022k