In quest for the optimal delignification of lignocellulosic biomass using hydrated, SO2 switched DBU MEASIL switchable ionic liquid

A1 Journal article (refereed)

Internal Authors/Editors

Publication Details

List of Authors: I. Anugwom, L. Rujana, J. Wärnå, M. Hedenström, J.-P. Mikkola
Publication year: 2016
Journal: Chemical Engineering Journal
Volume number: 297
Start page: 256
End page: 264
eISSN: 1873-3212


In this paper, various process parameters aiming at optimal short-time-high-temperature (STHT) process were studied upon fractionation of Nordic woody biomass into its primary constituents. Highly diluted, aqueous ‘SO2-switched’ switchable ionic liquid (SIL) based on an alkanol amine (monoethanol amine, MEA) and an organic superbase (1,8-diazabicyclo-[5.4.0]-undec-7-ene, DBU) was applied. The ultimate goal was to develop a more sustainable, environmentally friendly and cost efficient systems for efficient separation of the lignocellulosic fractions. One of the main products from the SIL fractionation is cellulose-rich pulp with very low lignin content, complemented with hemicelluloses. The NMR results reveal that substantial removal of lignin occurs even when relatively low amount of SIL was used. Further, a simple mathematical model describing the dissolution of the lignocellulose components (hemicellulose and lignin) and weight loss of wood as a function of time is described. Moreover, the most efficient process involved the use of SpinChem® rotating bed reactor while upon use of a flow through (loop) reactor, promising results were obtained at a treatment time of 4 h. Still, all the reactor systems studied gave rise to a rather low removal of hemicelluloses which mean that the solvent system is primary selective towards lignin dissolution.


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