BIOMASS AND WASTE PROCESSING
There are two routes on the processing of biomass and bio-waste: biological and thermochemical. The scalability of thermochemical processing of biomass has been proven over thousands of years. Charcoal, one the primary product of biomass pyrolysis, was used as a fuel for metals smelting since the time of Ancient Egypt. Another primary product of biomass processing, bio-oil, was used as a natural glue (including weapons e.g. arrowheads) or a coating for houses, roofs, and shipbuilding. The production of charcoal and bio-oil has exceeded over million tonnes scale in the 18th century.
At the begin of the 19th century, the cheap crude oil made an industrial revolution and substituted the biomass pyrolysis products. However, increasing concerns about fossil resources availability makes us thinking of alternative source for chemicals and fuels. This led to a resurgence in interest in biomass and bio-waste valorisation.
Bio-oil is a complex mixture of oxygen-containing organic compounds. Their individual market price is with higher compared to that one of crude oil because of improved functionality. However, the separation of the bio-oil mixture is a challenge. One of the possible solutions is in-situ catalytic conversion of biomass and bio-waste towards valuable chemicals.
Over the last 5 years, Dr. Budarin was working on selective processing of biomass and bio-waste towards valuable chemicals such as levoglucosenone and surags.
SUGARS TO LEVOGLUCOSENONE
It was found that MW-assisted processing of waste saccharide lignin leads to the selective production of levoglucosenone, an important platform building block.
Levoglucosenone was obtained at high purity and yield.
Published at Energy&Environmental Science, 2016, 9, 2571
SUGARS PRODUCTION: GLUCOSE
Dr. Budarin showed that MW-irradiation increases the production of sugars in x20 times as a result of cellulose hydrolysis.
High selectivity towards glucose was achieved and 40% yield of total sugars.
Published at JACS, 2013, 1178
1. Budarin, V. L.; Clark, J. H.; Henschen, J.; Farmer, T. J.; Macquarrie, D. J.; Mascal, M.; Nagaraja, G. K.; Petchey, T. H. M. Processed Lignin as a Byproduct of the Generation of 5-(Chloromethyl)Furfural from Biomass: A Promising New Mesoporous Material. ChemSusChem 2015, 8 (24), 4172–4179. https://doi.org/10.1002/cssc.201501319