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Sustainable commercial nanocrystalline cellulose manufacturing process with acid recycling

Sarma, Saurabh Jyoti, Ayadi, Mariem, Brar, Satinder Kaur, Berry, Richard
Carbohydrate polymers 2017 v.156 pp. 26-33
acid hydrolysis, activated carbon, adsorbents, cellulose, cellulosic materials, ion exchange, manufacturing, nanocrystals, recycling, sugars, sulfuric acid
Nanocrystalline cellulose (NCC) is a biomaterial having potential applications in a wide range of industries. It is industrially produced by concentrated acid hydrolysis of cellulosic materials. In this process, the sulfuric acid rich liquor can be concentrated and reused. However, removal of sugar monomers and oligomers is necessary for such recycling. Membrane and ion exchange technology can be employed to remove sugars; however, such technologies are not efficient in meeting the quality required to recycle the acid solution. As a part of the present study, activated carbon (AC) has been evaluated as an adsorbent for sugar removal from the acidic solution generated during commercial nanocrystalline cellulose manufacturing process. Almost complete removal of sugar can be achieved by this approach. The maximum sugar removal observed during this study was 3.4g/g of AC. Based on this finding, a sustainable method has been proposed for commercial nanocrystalline cellulose manufacturing.