Furfural production from xylose and birch hydrolysate liquor in a biphasic system and techno-economic analysis

Gerardo Gómez Millán*, Rahul Prasad Bangalore Ashok, Pekka Oinas, Jordi Llorca, Herbert Sixta

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

4 Citations (Scopus)


Furfural has been highlighted as one of the top ten most rewarding bio-based building blocks by the US Department of Energy. In this study, furfural was produced from xylose and birch hydrolysate liquor employing a batch reactor in a biphasic system. The formation of furfural was conducted under auto-catalyzed conditions. 2-sec-Butylphenol was used as extractant to promptly extract furfural from the aqueous phase in order to minimize furfural degradation reactions. The effect of time, temperature, and organic-to-aqueous phase ratio were investigated. The maximum furfural yields from xylose and birch hydrolysate liquor as feedstock under auto-catalyzed conditions when employing 2-sec-butylphenol (SBP) were 59 mol% and 54 mol%, respectively. In the monophasic system when using hydrolysate, 46% furfural was yielded. Based on a techno-economic analysis carried out for furfural, the total investment cost for a plant integrated with an existing pulp mill or bio-refinery is estimated as 14 M€. The minimum selling price of furfural found to be 1.62 € kg−1. With a furfural selling price of 1.93 € kg−1, the payback period is approximately 5 years and an internal rate of return (IRR) of 20.7% is achieved at the end of the project lifetime.

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages12
JournalBiomass Conversion and Biorefinery
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 1 Jan 2020
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • 2-sec-Butylphenol
  • Bio-refinery
  • Birch hydrolysate liquor
  • Furfural
  • Techno-economic analysis
  • Xylose


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