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The formation of furfural from xylose was investigated under heterogeneously catalyzed conditions with sulfated Starbon as a catalyst in a biphasic system. The experiments were perfomed based on the basis of a statistical experimental design. The variables considered were time, temperature and the ratio of aqueous to organic phase. The results indicate that sulfated Starbon is an effective solid acid catalyst for furfural formation. Starbon was characterised by scanning electron microscopy, N2-physisorption, thermogravimetric analysis, diffuse reflectance infrared Fourier transform, Raman spectroscopy and titration with pyridine. The maximum furfural yield and selectivity of 70 mol% were achieved with complete xylose conversion under the optimum experimental conditions. The present paper suggests that functionalized Starbon can be employed as an efficient solid acid catalyst that has significant hydrothermal stability and can be reused for several cycles to produce furfural from xylose.
- Biphasic system