Productive and Parasitic Pathways in Dilute Acid-Catalyzed Hydrolysis of Cellulose

William Shu Lai Mok, Michael Jerry Antal, Gabor Varhegyi

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201 Citations (Scopus)


Cellulose hydrolysis experiments were conducted in a percolating reactor at 34.5 MPa. A glucose yield of 71% of the theoretical maximum was obtained at 215 °C with 0.05% by weight of sulfuric acid in the percolating solution. The classical model of glucose formation from cellulose followed by secondary sugar degradation did not describe the reaction chemistry under these conditions. A parasitic pathway which leads to the formation of nonhydrolyzable oligomer was discovered in the absence of acid. In the presence of acid, kinetic modeling of the measured, temperature-dependent rates of glucose evolution indicates that an acid-catalyzed parasitic pathway operates in competition with the glucose production pathway. No chemical changes were detected in the solid phase during the course of reaction.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)94-100
Number of pages7
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 1 1992

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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