Dilute acid hydrolysis of cellulose and cellulosic bio-waste using a microwave reactor system

Angela Orozco, Mohamad Ahmad, David Rooney, Gavin Walker

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88 Citations (Scopus)


The dilute acid hydrolysis of grass and cellulose with phosphoric acid was undertaken in a microwave reactor system. The experimental data and reaction kinetic analysis indicate that this is a potential process for cellulose and hemi-cellulose hydrolysis, due to a rapid hydrolysis reaction at moderate temperatures. The optimum conditions for grass hydrolysis were found to be 2.5% phosphoric acid at a temperature of 175 degrees C. It was found that sugar degradation occurred at acid concentrations greater than 2.5% (v/v) and temperatures greater than 175 degrees C. In a further series of experiments, the kinetics of dilute acid hydrolysis of cellulose was investigated varying phosphoric acid concentration and reaction temperatures. The experimental data indicate that the use of microwave technology can successfully facilitate dilute acid hydrolysis of cellulose allowing high yields of glucose in short reaction times. The optimum conditions gave a yield of 90% glucose. A pseudo-homogeneous consecutive first order reaction was assumed and the reaction rate constants were calculated as: k(1) = 0.0813 s(-1); k(2) = 0.0075 s(-1), which compare favourably with reaction rate constants found in conventional non-microwave reaction systems. The kinetic analysis would indicate that the primary advantages of employing microwave heating were to: achieve a high rate constant at moderate temperatures: and to prevent 'hot spot' formation within the reactor, which would have cause localised degradation of glucose.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)446-449
Number of pages4
Volume85 (B5)
Issue number5 B
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2007

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Safety, Risk, Reliability and Quality
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Safety Research
  • Environmental Chemistry

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