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Kinetic Studies on the Conversion of Levoglucosan to Glucose in Water Using Brønsted Acids as the Catalysts

Abdilla, R. M., Rasrendra, C. B., Heeres, H. J.
Industrial & engineering chemistry process design and development 2018 v.57 no.9 pp. 3204-3214
Bronsted acids, acetic acid, activation energy, biomass, byproducts, catalysts, computer software, glucose, lignocellulose, models, polymers, process design, pyrolysis, sulfuric acid, temperature
Fast pyrolysis is as a promising and versatile technology to depolymerize and concentrate sugars from lignocellulosic biomass. The pyrolysis liquids produced contain considerable amounts of levoglucosan (1,6-anhydro-β-d-glucopyranose), which is an interesting source for glucose (GLC). Here, we report a kinetic study on the conversion of levoglucosan (LG) to GLC in water using sulfuric and acetic acid as the catalysts under a wide range of conditions in a batch setup. The effects of the initial LG loading (0.1–1 M), sulfuric and acetic acid concentrations (0.05–0.5 M and 0.5–1 M, respectively), and reaction temperatures (80–200 °C) were determined. Highest GLC yields were obtained using sulfuric acid (98 mol %), whereas the yields were lower for acetic acid (maximum 90 mol %) due to the formation of byproducts such as insoluble polymers (humins). The experimental data were modeled using MATLAB software, and relevant kinetic parameters were determined. Good agreement between experimental and model was obtained when assuming that the reaction is first order with respect to LG. The activation energies were 123.4 kJ mol–¹ and 120.9 kJ mol–¹ for sulfuric and acetic acid, respectively.