Chemical analysis of the product in acid-catalyzed solvolysis of cellulose using polyethylene glycol and ethylene carbonate
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- Yamada, T., Aratani, M., Kubo, S. et al. J Wood Sci (2007) 53: 487. doi:10.1007/s10086-007-0886-8
Degradation and decomposition of cellulose were studied in an acid-catalyzed solvolysis treatment of biomass using polyethylene glycol (PEG) and ethylene carbonate (EC). The solvolysis reaction was followed by a typical reaction system of wood liquefaction that uses sulfuric acid catalyst at 140° or 150°C at atmospheric pressure. The methods of fractionation and chemical analysis of the degraded cellulose in the solvolyzed product are discussed. The solvolyzed product was separated into several fractions, and they were hydrolyzed to release glucose and levulinic acid to determine the quantity of glucosides and levulinates in the solvolysis product. The data clearly showed that the solvolysis reaction had the same mechanism when using PEG or EC. Degradation of cellulose leads to the formation of glucosides, which then decompose, resulting in a levulinic acid structure, and producing a water-insoluble fraction. The conversion rates of both glucosides and levulinates strongly depend on the reaction conditions of the solvolysis. In particular, EC promotes faster conversion of the reactions. The method discussed here is a chemical analytical technique for characterization of the products of wood liquefaction.