[Paper] Supercritical water hydrolysis of cellulosic biomass as effective pretreatment to catalytic production of hexitols and ethylene glycol over Ru/MCM-48



DOI: 10.1039/C6GC00374E

One – pot hydrolytic hydrogenation of cellulose was studied using mesoporous Ru/MCM-48 as catalyst. Supercritical water (SCW) was used as reaction medium for cellulose hydrolysis, since in this reaction medium it is possible to depolymerize cellulose with high selectivity to sugars (70 % w·w-1) avoiding degradation reactions. The SCW hydrolysis was carried out at 400 ºC – 25 MPa with extremely low reaction times (0.20 s). The hydrogenation of the liquid product from cellulose hydrolysis in SCW allowed maximizing yield to hexitols by changing temperature and reaction time. The results demonstrated the achievement of higher yields to hexitols by the subsequent hydrogenation of the liquid product from cellulose hydrolysis in SCW (49 %) than using the one – pot catalytic hydrogenation of cellulose. Ru/MCM-48 showed better behavior than commercial Ru/C during the hydrogenation process in all the cases. Thus, Ru/MCM-48 was also employed in the hydrogenation of the product from sugar beet pulp (SBP) hydrolysis in SCW. SBP was used in order to evaluate the behavior of a real biomass in this process. A yield to hexitols of 15 % was achieved from SBP, ethylene glycol was the main compound in the liquid product and glycerol was obtained as byproduct too.


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