Synergistic Catalytic Effect of Sulphated Zirconia—HCl System for Levulinic Acid and Solid Residue Production Using Microwave Irradiation

Hurst, G.; González-Carballo, J.M.; Tosheva, L.; Tedesco, S.

The synergistic conversion of Miscanthus xGiganteous with sulphated zirconia and dilute hydrochloric acid was investigated. The sulphated zirconia was prepared using H2SO4 impregnation and characterised using X-ray Diffraction (XRD), Energy-dispersive X-ray (EDX), Scanning Electron Miscroscope (SEM) spectroscopy and nitrogen adsorption–desorption measurements. The microwave-assisted reaction was evaluated at various temperatures, reaction times and catalyst-to-biomass ratios, with and without the presence of trace HCl in the solution medium for the conversion of Miscanthus xGiganteous to levulinic acid. The highest levulinic acid yield of 63.8% was achieved at 160 °C, 80 min and a 2:1 catalyst-to-biomass ratio, with 10 mM HCl. The catalyst recyclability was investigated with and without calcination, finding that significant humin deposition on the catalyst surface likely caused catalyst deactivation. The post-reaction solid residue was also characterised using SEM, EDX, XRD, elemental composition and nitrogen adsorption–desorption measurements. Findings indicate that this residue could potentially be used as a soil amendment or as a fuel source. The synergistic conversion of real lignocellulosic biomass with sulphated zirconia and trace hydrochloric acid showed remarkable promise and should be investigated further.

Join our newsletter

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

I agree to the Terms and Conditions(Required)
Keep me up to date with the latest from Supergen Bioenergy Hub(Required)
This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.