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Title: An Ionic Liquid Reaction and Separation Process for Production of Hydroxymethylfurfural from Sugars

There has been world-wide interest to making plastics out of renewable biomass feedstock for recent years. Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) is viewed as an attractive alternate to terephthalic acid (TPA) for production of polyesters (PET) and polyamides. Conversion of sugars into HMF has been studied in numerous publications. In this work, a complete ionic liquid reaction and separation process is presented for nearly stoichiometric conversion of fructose into HMF. Different adsorbent materials are evaluated and silicalite material is demonstrated effective for isolation of 99% pure HMF from actual ionic liquid reaction mixtures and for recovery of the un-converted sugars and reaction intermediate along with the ionic liquid. Membrane-coated silicalite particles are prepared and studied for a practical adsorption process operated at low pressure drops but with separation performances comparable or better than the powder material. Complete conversion of fresh fructose feed into HMF in the recycled ionic liquid is shown under suitable reaction conditions. Stability of HMF product is characterized. A simplified process flow diagram is proposed based on these research results, and the key equipment such as reactor and adsorbent bed is sized for a plant of 200,000 ton/year of fructose processing capacity. The proposed HMF production process is much simplermore » than the current paraxylene (PX) manufacturing process from petroleum oil, which suggests substantial reduction to the capital cost and energy consumption be possible. At the equivalent value to PX on the molar basis, there can be a large gross margin for HMF production from fructose and/or sugars.« less
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Journal Article
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Journal Name: AIChE Journal, 60(1):300-314
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Laboratory (PNNL), Richland, WA (US)
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Country of Publication:
United States