Experimental and modelling studies on the uncatalysed thermal conversion of inulin to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and levulinic acid
Fachri, Boy Arief
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Background: 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), an important biobased platform chemical, is accessible by the acid catalysed conversion of biopolymers containing hexoses (cellulose, starch, inulin) and monomeric sugars derived thereof. We here report an experimental study on the uncatalysed, thermal conversion of inulin to HMF in aqueous solutions in a batch set-up. Results: The reactions were conducted in a temperature range of 153–187°C, an inulin loading between 0.03 and 0.12 g/mL and batch times between 18 and 74 min using a central composite experimental design. The highest experimental HMF yield in the process window was 35 wt% (45 mol%), which is 45% of the theoretical maximum (78 wt%). The HMF yields were modeled using a statistical approach and good agreement between experiment data and model was obtained. The possible autocatalytic role of formic acid (FA) and levulinic acid, two main byproducts, was probed by performing reactions in the presence of these acids and it was shown that particularly FA acts as a catalyst. Conclusions: Inulin is an interesting feed for the synthesis of HMF in water. A catalyst is not required, though autocatalytic effects of FA play a major role and also affect reaction rates and product yields.
- LSP-Jurnal Ilmiah Dosen