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Issue 9, 2011
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Ionic liquid pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass with ionic liquid–water mixtures

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Ground lignocellulosic biomass (Miscanthus giganteus, pine (Pinus sylvestris) and willow (Salix viminalis)) was pretreated with ionic liquidwater mixtures of 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium methyl sulfate and 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium hydrogen sulfate. A solid fraction enriched in cellulose was recovered, which was subjected to enzymatic hydrolysis. Up to 90% of the glucose and 25% of the hemicellulose contained in the original biomass were released by the combined ionic liquid pretreatment and the enzymatic hydrolysis. After the pretreatment, the ionic liquid liquor contained the majority of the lignin and the hemicellulose. The lignin portion was partially precipitated from the liquor upon dilution with water. The amount of hemicellulose monomers in the ionic liquid liquor and their conversion into furfurals was also examined. The performance of ionic liquidwater mixtures containing 1,3-dialkylimidazolium ionic liquids with acetate, methanesulfonate, trifluoromethanesulfonate and chloride anions was investigated. The applicability of the ionic liquid 1-butylimidazolium hydrogensulfate for lignocellulose pretreatment was also examined. It was found that ionic liquid liquors containing methyl sulfate, hydrogen sulfate and methanesulfonate anions were most effective in terms of lignin/cellulose fractionation and enhancement of cellulose digestibility.

Graphical abstract: Ionic liquid pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass with ionic liquid–water mixtures

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Article information

06 Apr 2011
21 Jun 2011
First published
27 Jul 2011

Green Chem., 2011,13, 2489-2499
Article type

Ionic liquid pretreatment of lignocellulosic biomass with ionic liquidwater mixtures

A. Brandt, M. J. Ray, T. Q. To, D. J. Leak, R. J. Murphy and T. Welton, Green Chem., 2011, 13, 2489
DOI: 10.1039/C1GC15374A

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