Exploring the Effect of Water Content and Anion on the Pretreatment of Poplar with Three 1-Ethyl-3-methylimidazolium Ionic Liquids
Gschwend, F.J.V.; Hallett, J.P.; Brandt-Talbot, A.
We report on the pretreatment of poplar wood with three different 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium ionic liquids, [EMim][OAc], [EMim][MeSO3], and [EMim][HSO4], at varying water contents from 0–40 wt% at 100 °C. The performance was evaluated by observing the lignin and hemicellulose removal, as well as enzymatic saccharification and lignin yield. The mechanism of pretreatment varied between the ionic liquids studied, with the hydrogen sulfate ionic liquid performing delignification and hemicellulose hydrolysis more effectively than the other solvents across the investigated water content range. The acetate ionic liquid produced superior glucose yield at low water contents, while the hydrogen sulfate ionic liquid performed better at higher water contents and produced a recoverable lignin. The methanesulfonate ionic liquid did not introduce significant fractionation or enhancement of saccharification yield under the conditions used. These findings help distinguish the roles of anion hydrogen bonding, solvent acidity, and water content on ionic liquid pretreatment and can aid with anion and water content selections for different applications.