February 23, 2009
Chemical simplifies cellulosic
Cook up the right solvent and you can
turn wood and agriculture scrap directly into a biofuel precursor
without first having to convert it to sugar.
The solvent, N,N-dimethylacetamide mixed with lithium chloride,
converts cellulosic biomass directly into 5-hydroxymethylfurfural,
which is a chemical that can be converted to diesel, jet fuel and
industrial chemicals. Existing methods of converting biomass to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural
require the intermediate step of producing glucose or fructose.
The process takes 1 to 5 hours to convert up to 92 percent
of biomass feedstock at about 140 degrees Celsius.
A similar process uses hydrochloric acid and lithium chloride
but it requires multiple steps, takes more time, produces less and
yields different chemicals.
The new solvent could reduce the cost and increase the amount
of biofuels made from non-food sources.
Transformation of Lignocellulosic Biomass into Furans for Fuels and
Journal of the American Chemical Society, February 11, 2009
Related stories and briefs:
sugar -- related research
simplified -- related research
Back to ERN home
Energy-related books and products