, Volume 115, Issue 1-3, pp 1127-1138

Kinetics of glucose decomposition during dilute-acid hydrolysis of lignocellulosic biomass

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Abstract

Recent research work in-house both at Auburn University and National Renewable Energy Laboratory has demonstrated that extremely low concentrations of acid (e.g., 0.05–0.2 wt% sulfuric acid) and high temperatures (e.g., 200–230°C) are reaction conditions that can be effectively applied for hydrolysis of the cellulosic component of biomass. These conditions are far from those of the conventional dilute-acid hydrolysis processes, and the kinetic data for glucose decomposition are not currently available. We investigated the kinetics of glucose decomposition covering pH values of 1.5–2.2 and temperatures of 180–230°C using glass ampoule reactors. The primary factors controlling glucose decomposition are the reaction medium, acid concentration, and temperature. Based on the experimental data, a kinetic model was developed and the best-fit kinetic parameters were determined. However, a consistent discrepancy in the rate of glucose disappearance was found between that of the model based on pure glucose data and that observed during the actual process of lignocellulosic biomass hydrolysis. This was taken as an indication that glucose recombines with acid-soluble lignin during the hydrolysis process, and this conclusion was incorporated accordingly into the overall model of glucose decomposition.