Description: A direct conversion of cellulosic wastes, including resin-bonded furniture and building waste, to levulinate esters is being investigated with the view to producing fuels, solvents, and chemical intermediates as well as other useful by-products in an inexpensive process. The acid-catalyzed reaction of cellulosic materials with ethanol or methanol at 200 C gives good yields of levulinate and formate esters, as well as useful by-products, such as a solid residue (charcoal) and a resinous lignin residue. An initial plant design showed reasonable rates of return for production of purified ethyl levulinate and by-products. In this project, investigations have been performed to identify and develop reactions that utilize esters of levulinic acid produced during the acid-catalyzed ethanolysis reaction. We wish to develop uses for levulinate esters that allow their marketing at prices comparable to inexpensive polymer intermediates. These prices will allow a sufficient rate of return to justify building plants for utilizing the waste lignocellulosics. If need is demonstrated for purified levulinate, the initial plant design work may be adequate, at least until further pilot-scale work on the process is performed.
Date: June 30, 2001
Creator: Olson, Edwin S.
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