Hydrolysis of cellulose to glucose is a crucial step for effective use of lignocellulosic biomass because glucose can be efficiently refined to various biofuels, chemicals, foods and medicines. Therefore, many studies have been done to hydrolyze cellulose to glucose with enzymes, dilute acids and sub- or super-critical water; however, these methods have many disadvantages such as the high cost of enzymes, difficulty in separation of catalysts, corrosion of reactors, undesirable waste effluents and severe reaction conditions.
In August 2012, biomass group of Key Laboratory of Tropical Plant Resource and Sustainable Use in Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden (XTBG), CAS reported their new progress in applications of solid catalysts hydrolyzed the pretreated cellulose may overcome the above drawbacks.
In the present study, the ionic liquid (IL) [AMIM]Cl (1-allyl-3-methylimidazolium chloride) was used for cellulose pretreatment to reduce the crystallinity and to increase the surface area of cellulose. The IL was separated from the pretreated cellulose and reused. The pretreated cellulose was hydrolyzed in the presence of the solid catalyst (CaFe2O4) synthesized in this work. The activity of the catalyst was determined after several reaction cycles.
Hydrolysis of cellulose with CaFe2O4 catalyst combined with [AMIM]Cl pretreatment is a green, energy-saving and efficient process. Related results were published in the international journal “Bioresource Technology”
Fan Zhang, Zhen Fang. Hydrolysis of cellulose to glucose at the low temperature of 423 K with CaFe2O4-based solid catalyst, Bioresource Technology, 124, 440–445. (2012)