Biomass to furfural and upgrading to biofuels

Recent approaches to furfural synthesis from hemicellulosic biomass and pentose sugars with both homogeneous and solid acidic catalysts have been summarized by addressing the associated sustainability issues. The features of deconstruction of hemicellulosic biomass by acid hydrolysis to produce pentose sugar feedstock for furfural have been discussed in brief. Several strategies including solvent extraction in a biphasic process, application of surface functionalized materials such as acidic resins, mesoporous solids and mechanistic insight in limited cases are discussed. The present status of the promising furfural platform in producing second generation biofuels (furanics and hydrocarbon) is reviewed. The performances of each catalytic system are assessed in terms of intrinsic reactivity and selectivity toward furfural production. Overall, this minireview attempts to highlight the scope of further developments for a sustainable furfural process and upgrading to fuels.
Graphical abstract: Advances in conversion of hemicellulosic biomass to furfural and upgrading to biofuels

Saikat Dutta Sudipta De Basudeb Saha and Md. Imteyaz Alam
Catal. Sci. Technol., 2012, 2, 2025-2036

DOI: 10.1039/C2CY20235B
Received 14 Apr 2012, Accepted 28 May 2012
First published on the web 01 Jun 2012

This article is part of the collection: Homogeneous and heterogeneous catalysis in industry

from RSC Publishing


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