CANCELED - Conversion of C-5 sugars into into a third generation biofuel using low amount of H2

J.-M. Lavoie
Université de Sherbrooke, CA

Keywords: xylose, hemicellulose, oxopentanoate, ethyl levulinate

Summary:

Biorefining lignocellulosic biomass relies essentially on the production of added value products from all fractions of the biomass. With an actual market price varying from 60-120 USD, production of ethanol, a commodity, cannot be the sole product generated from the feedstock, even if it is agricultural or forest biomass. In order to improve the economics of the biorefinery, co-products have also to be targeted processes. Hemicelluloses, occurring at 15-25% (wt) of the biomass dry weight are a combination of C-5 and C-6 sugar in concentrations that varies from one feedstock to another. Although biological conversion process may allow conversion of C-5 sugars into added value products has ethanol, our team has focused on the conversion of xylose to ethyl levulinate via the furfural pathway. Conversion of furfural into a fuel additive can be achieved with hydrogen (thus converting it to Me-THF), but the latter is rather expensive with a higher than 4/1 molar ratio of hydrogen/furfural and with an actual market price of 4-5$/kg (hydrogen). Since the targeted product in this case is a commodity (possible biodiesel) we are offering a simple approach with common chemicals in order to reduce hydrogen consumption.