2015 Volume 94 Issue 8 Pages 835-840
This research aimed to study the potential of furfural production via green chemicals (supercritical ethanol and formic acid) using oil palm biomass. Furfural was obtained via reaction conducted using a high-pressure and high-temperature mini-batch reactor. Various reaction parameters were studied including temperature, reaction time, solid loading, and alcohol-acid ratio. Depolymerisation of the pentosan into xylose by supercritical ethanol and subsequent dehydration of xylose into furfural from the acid-catalyzed reaction occurred simultaneously in the minibatch reactor. Results obtained showed the highest furfural yield of 88.7% at 260 °C, 10 min, 0.6 g solid loading, and 1:2 alcohol: acid ratio. The highlight of this research is in the use of green chemicals in which a fully biomass-based process were achieved as both ethanol and formic acid can be produced from biomass itself. Ethanol is produced by fermentation of saccharides. Meanwhile formic acid is generated from furfural production itself.