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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.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Top Value Added Chemicals From Biomass: I. Results of Screening for Potential Candidates from Sugars and Synthesis Gas

Description: This report identifies twelve building block chemicals that can be produced from sugars via biological or chemical conversions. The twelve building blocks can be subsequently converted to a number of high-value bio-based chemicals or materials. Building block chemicals, as considered for this analysis, are molecules with multiple functional groups that possess the potential to be transformed into new families of useful molecules. The twelve sugar-based building blocks are 1,4-diacids (succinic, fumaric and malic), 2,5-furan dicarboxylic acid, 3-hydroxy propionic acid, aspartic acid, glucaric acid, glutamic acid, itaconic acid, levulinic acid, 3-hydroxybutyrolactone, glycerol, sorbitol, and xylitol/arabinitol. In addition to building blocks, the report outlines the central technical barriers that are preventing the widespread use of biomass for products and chemicals.
Date: November 1, 2004
Creator: Werpy, Todd A.; Holladay, John E. & White, James F.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Final technical report: Commercialization of the Biofine technology for levulinic acid production from paper sludge

Description: This project involved a three-year program managed by BioMetics, Inc. (Waltham, MA) to demonstrate the commercial feasibility of Biofine thermochemical process technology for conversion of cellulose-containing wastes or renewable materials into levulinic acid, a versatile platform chemical. The program, commencing in October 1995, involved the design, procurement, construction and operation of a plant utilizing the Biofine process to convert 1 dry ton per day of paper sludge waste. The plant was successfully designed, constructed, and commissioned in 1997. It was operated for a period of one year on paper sludge from a variety of source paper mills to collect data to verify the design for a commercial scale plant. Operational results were obtained for four different feedstock varieties. Stable, continuous operation was achieved for two of the feedstocks. Continuous operation of the plant at demonstration scale provided the opportunity for process optimization, development of operational protocols, operator training and identification of suitable materials of construction for scale up to commercial operation . Separated fiber from municipal waster was also successfully processed. The project team consisted of BioMetics Inc., Great Lakes Chemical Corporation (West Lafayette, IN), and New York State Energy Research and Development Authority (Albany, NY).
Date: April 23, 2002
Creator: Fitzpatrick, Stephen W.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department

Electrochemistry applied to biomass. Progress report, October 1980-September 1981

Description: The electrochemical conversion of biomass-derived compounds, obtained through thermochemical pretreatments, into valuable organic chemicals, petrochemical substitutes, and energy-intensive chemicals is investigated. A hardwood-derived lignin obtained from ethanol extraction of the explosively depressurized aspen has been investigated. We have partially characterized this lignin material, and have also submitted it to electrolyses under controlled potential. The electrolytic conditions employed so far affect mainly the carbonyl groups of the ethanol-extracted steam-exploded aspen lignin. We have some evidence of demethoxylation and changed phenolic content after electrolysis. During product isolation, fractionation of the lignin occurs. The material with decreased methoxyl content may be suitable to replace phenol in phenol-formaldehyde-type resins. We are continuing these electrochemical and chemical investigations. Gel-permeation chromatography is being used to separate and characterize the several lignin fractions. In addition, we are carrying out electrolyses under more powerful reducing conditions which may lead to the cleavage of the main bonds in the lignin molecule (the ..beta..-0-4 ether linkages) producing monomeric and dimeric phenolic compounds. The electrochemistry and photoelectrochemistry of levulinic (4-oxo-pentanoic) acid, the major product of controlled degradation of cellulose by acids, have been investigated. This acid can be viewed as a major product of biomass thermochemical pretreatment or as a by-product of acid hydrolysis to fermentable sugars. Since this acid can be present in waste streams of biomass processing, we investigated the photoelectrochemical reactions of this acid on slurries composed of semiconductor/metal particles. The semiconductor investigated was undoped n-TiO/sub 2/, as anatase, anatase-rutile mixture, or rutile.
Date: April 1, 1982
Creator: Chum, H. L.
Partner: UNT Libraries Government Documents Department