Production of furfural from xylose using solid catalysts

Gerardo Gomez Millan, Sanna Hellsten, Jordi Llorca, Herbert Sixta

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperScientific


Recent years have witnessed much activity to upgrade sugars contained in side streams from the pulp and paper industry into ethanol and other value-added chemicals. An interesting catalytic route, namely the dehydration of sugars to furans, is considered as one of the most promising routes for the production of platform chemicals and fuels. Quite recently, furan molecules such as furfural are highlighted in the “Top 10 + 4” by the United States Department of Energy list as the most rewarding bio-based platform molecules (Bozell, J. et al. Green Chem. 2010, 12, 539).
The purpose of the current study is to improve the current furfural production, around 50 mol% using mineral acids at approx. 200 °C, from lignocellulosic biomass (especially from the pre-hydrolysate liquor for dissolving pulp). This approach offers several advantages over current processes in the conversion of pentosan into furfural, that is: high yields, low energy consumption, and easy-to-separate reusable catalysts. As a part of the improved process, different solid acid catalysts have been developed for this purpose: sulfated zirconia, alumina and modified MCM-41, as well as commercial polymers have been tested.
The results of this analysis could be used to produce value-added chemicals from sugar-side streams from the forestry industry that could be further synthesized for applications in a wide range of industrial branches (biofuel, pharmaceutical, agrochemical, petrochemical and chemical industry, among others).
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - Nov 2016
MoE publication typeNot Eligible
EventNordForsk Research Network: Refining Lignocellulosics to Advanced Polymers and Fibres - Campus Ås, Oslo, Norway
Duration: 26 Nov 201627 Nov 2016


ConferenceNordForsk Research Network
Abbreviated titlePolyRefNorth


  • Furfural
  • Xylose
  • Amberlyst DT
  • Nafion NR40
  • Sulfated Zirconia
  • Alumina


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