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Issue 7, 2019

Solvent system for effective near-term production of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) with potential for long-term process improvement

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Abstract

Production of renewable chemicals to mitigate the deleterious effects of greenhouse gas emissions requires technologies that are cost-competitive with the fossil-fuel industry, require low capital investment, and produce high-value products. We report production of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), a valuable platform molecule from biomass-derived carbohydrates at high yields (>90%) and with excellent carbon balance (>95%) using an inexpensive solvent system composed of acetone and water. We demonstrate that HMF, a thermally unstable molecule, can be separated from this low boiling solvent system with high recovery (96%) and purity (∼99%). We show that fructose is selectively dehydrated in this solvent system from a mixture of glucose and fructose, a property that can be leveraged to integrate the proposed process with current processes for the production of high fructose corn syrup. Techno-economic analysis indicates that utilizing fructose as feedstock leads to low investment (16 MM$) and produces HMF at a minimum selling price (MSP) of $1710 per ton. The MSP can be further reduced to $1460 per ton by changing the feedstock to glucose.

Graphical abstract: Solvent system for effective near-term production of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) with potential for long-term process improvement

Supplementary files

Article information


Submitted
08 Feb 2019
Accepted
12 Apr 2019
First published
12 Apr 2019

Energy Environ. Sci., 2019,12, 2212-2222
Article type
Paper
Author version available

Solvent system for effective near-term production of hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) with potential for long-term process improvement

A. H. Motagamwala, K. Huang, C. T. Maravelias and J. A. Dumesic, Energy Environ. Sci., 2019, 12, 2212 DOI: 10.1039/C9EE00447E

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