American and Brazilian Researchers observed a reduction of the furfuryl alcohol polymerization reactions, when using a zeolite to hydrolyse furfuryl alcohol in THF (a furfural by-product) , thus increasing the yields over 70%.
Two extracts from their report explain the importance of their work:
- Levulinic acid can be produced from the cellulose fraction (C6 sugars) of lignocellulosic biomass in high yields through a series of acid-catalyzed reactions, passing through the platform molecule hydroxymethylfurfural, as displayed in Scheme 1, however, the use of cellulose for the production of chemicals competes with the well-established bioethanol process. Hemicellulose (C5 sugars) can also be used to target the production of levulinic acid, as shown in Scheme 1.
- Notably, the conversion furfuryl alcohol to levulinic acid is of fundamental importance because it is one of the few reactions that integrate glucose and xylose reaction pathways, associating xylose with the well-developed chemistry of cellulose-derived compounds.
- International Furan Technology (ift.co.za) provides knowhow on the design and construction of bio-based chemical plants using feedstock such as sugarcane or sweet sorghum bagasse.
- The µ-BioRefinery™ (micro-biorefinery.com) is a design-platform for the processing of sweet sorghum and/or sugarcane into bio-based chemicals, such as furfural, butanol and could be easily adapted to Levulinic Acid production.