A comparative study of water-immiscible organic solvents in the production of furfural from xylose and birch hydrolysate

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review


Research units

  • University of Helsinki
  • The Universitat Politecnica de Catalunya


Furfural (FUR) was produced from xylose using a biphasic batch reaction system. Water-immiscible organic solvents such as isophorone, 2-methyltetrahydrofuran (2-MTHF) and cyclopentyl methyl ether (CPME) were used to promptly extract FUR from the aqueous phase in order to avoid the degradation to humins as largely as possible. The effect of time, temperature, organic solvent and organic-to-aqueous ratio on xylose conversion and FUR yield were investigated in auto-catalyzed conditions. Experiments at three temperatures (170, 190 and 210 °C) were carried out in a stirred microwave-assisted batch reactor, which established the optimal conditions for achieving the highest FUR yield. The maximum FUR yields from xylose were 78 mol% when using CPME, 48 mol% using isophorone and 71 mol% in the case of 2-MTHF at an aqueous to organic phase ratio of 1:1 (v/v). Birch hydrolysate was also used to show the high furfural yield that can be obtained in the biphasic system under optimized conditions. The present study suggests that CPME can be used as a green and efficient extraction solvent for the conversion of xylose into furfural without salt addition.


Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)354-363
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 25 Apr 2019
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

    Research areas

  • xylose, furfural, prehydrolyzate liquor, 2-MTHF, CPME, isophorone, Xylose, Furfural, Isophorone, Prehydrolysate liquor

ID: 30783466