Loop vs. batch reactor setups in the fractionation of birch chips using switchable ionic liquids

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: Valerie Eta, Ikenna Anugwom, Pasi Virtanen, Kari Eränen, P. Mäki-Arvela, J.-P. Mikkola
Publication year: 2014
Journal: Chemical Engineering Journal
Volume number: 238
Issue number: Special issue
Start page: 242
End page: 248
eISSN: 1873-3212


The fractionation of lignocellulosic feedstock into its major components with high purity represents an important commercialization milestone in the transformation of lignocellulosic forest derived products into fuels and commodity chemicals. A comparison between the traditionally used batch reactor and loop reactor systems demonstrates that improved dissolution of hemicelluloses and lignin are obtained using switchable ionic liquids in a loop reactor system which facilitates decreased heat and mass transfer restrictions. The treatment of birch chips using switchable ionic liquid (SIL) based on 1,8-diazabicyclo-[5.4.0]-undec-7-ene, CO2 and diethanolamine at 120 °C for 30 h in a loop reactor resulted in 24% loss of original weight of wood corresponding to dissolution of 52 wt.% of hemicelluloses and 42 wt.% of lignin, respectively, as opposed to 20% weight loss corresponding to 43 wt.% dissolution of hemicelluloses and 38 wt.% of lignin in the batch system. The non-dissolved material obtained from both reactors was efficiently fibrillated and softened cellulose fibres. The flow of switchable ionic liquid through the loop reactor and agitation of the chips enhanced the dissolution of hemicelluloses and lignin. The dissolved fractions recovered from spent SIL after treatment contained both hemicelluloses and lignin.


Batch reactor, Birch chips, Loop reactor, Switchable ionic liquids (SILs), Wood fractionation

Last updated on 2020-28-05 at 05:14