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Utilization of Core Oil Palm Trunk Waste to Methyl Levulinate: Physical and Chemical Characterizations

Noorhasmiera Abu Jahar, Fei-ling Pua, Wong Jia Chyi, Marhaini Mostapha, Sarani Zakaria, Chin Hua Chia, Sharifah Nabihah Syed Jaafar
Waste and biomass valorization 2019 v.10 no.3 pp. 655-660
Elaeis guineensis, carbon, catalysts, fuel production, glucose, high performance liquid chromatography, hydrochloric acid, methanolysis, mixing, nuclear magnetic resonance spectroscopy, pressing, sap, sulfuric acid, wastes
Core oil palm trunk (COPT) is a lignocellulosic waste that poses as an alternative carbon source in bio-chemical and bio-fuel production. The bulk of free sugar present in its sap renders COPT as a potential starting material in the synthesis of methyl levulinate (ML). In this study, the effect of different sap extractions on COPT and synthesised methyl levulinate respectively was analysed. COPT sap was extracted using two different methods of blending and pressing, followed by the methanolysis reaction. The high performance liquid chromatography (HPLC) results for both extraction methods have revealed that glucose is the primary sugar found in the sap. However, the total sugar concentration obtained from the pressing extraction method was found to be higher at 22.14 g/L, compared to blending extraction method at 20.23 g/L. Meanwhile, synthesized methyl levulinate was identified from the methanolysis of COPT sap in all type of catalysts (i.e. 0.5 M HCl, 1 M HCl, 0.5 M H₂SO₄ and 1 M H₂SO₄). It is worth noting that the isolated and highest concentration of methyl levulinate was obtained when catalysed by 1 M H₂SO₄ and can be clearly seen on the NMR spectrum.