University of Oulu

Marja Mikola, Juha Ahola, Juha Tanskanen, Production of levulinic acid from glucose in sulfolane/water mixtures, Chemical Engineering Research and Design, Volume 148, 2019, Pages 291-297, ISSN 0263-8762,

Production of levulinic acid from glucose in sulfolane/water mixtures

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Author: Mikola, Marja1; Ahola, Juha1; Tanskanen, Juha1
Organizations: 1Chemical Process Engineering Research Unit, Faculty of Technology, University of Oulu, P.O. Box 4300, FI-90014 Oulu, Finland
Format: article
Version: accepted version
Access: open
Online Access: PDF Full Text (PDF, 0.3 MB)
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Language: English
Published: Elsevier, 2019
Publish Date: 2021-06-20


Levulinic acid derived from biomass is a versatile platform molecule, which can be used in manufacturing different compounds to replace fossil-based chemicals. In this study, the effect of sulfolane as solvent in sulphuric acid catalysed levulinic acid production from glucose was investigated. The broad sulfolane concentration range was systematically studied and a kinetic model was developed to describe the levulinic acid production. A significant increase in glucose conversion rate was observed when the proportion of sulfolane in the solvent mixture was increased. The maximum selectivity of the levulinic acid production was found to be slightly over 50% and independent of the solvent composition. Thus, with sulfolane solvent, the same yields can be obtained in a significantly shorter time or at a lower temperature as when water is used as solvent. Sulfolane was also found to keep the generated by-products in soluble form. This will decrease fouling of the process equipment, which has been a major issue in designing of levulinic acid production processes.

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Series: Chemical engineering research and design
ISSN: 0263-8762
ISSN-E: 0263-8762
ISSN-L: 0263-8762
Volume: 148
Pages: 291 - 297
DOI: 10.1016/j.cherd.2019.06.022
Type of Publication: A1 Journal article – refereed
Field of Science: 215 Chemical engineering
Funding: The financial support from the ERDF projects “Biomass value chains” (EURA 2014/2191/09 02 01 01/2015/KPLIITTO) and “Value adding of forest biomass - Raw materials from side products of biorefining” (EURA 2014/5099/09 02 01 01/2017/PPL) is gratefully acknowledged.
Copyright information: © 2019 Institution of Chemical Engineers. Published by Elsevier B.V. This manuscript version is made available under the CC-BY-NC-ND 4.0 license