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Carbohydr Res. 2012 Aug 1;357:53-61. doi: 10.1016/j.carres.2012.05.020. Epub 2012 May 24.

The optimization of formic acid hydrolysis of xylose in furfural production.

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  • 1School of Chemical Engineering and Technology, Tianjin University, Tianjin 300072, People's Republic of China.


Formic acid, a byproduct of furfural process, can be an effective catalyst for dehydration of xylose into furfural. Due to the low corrosion resistance, easy to be separated and reused, there is a growing interest in the use of formic acid as catalyst. In this study, response surface methodology (RSM) was used to optimize the hydrolysis process in order to obtain high furfural yield and selectivity. Three important parameters, initial xylose concentration (40-120 g/L), temperature (170-190 °C), formic acid concentration (5-15 g/L) were optimized. The optimum initial xylose concentration, formic concentration, reaction temperature were 40 g/L, 10 g/L, and 180 °C, respectively. Under these conditions, the maximum furfural yield of 74% and selectivity of 78% were achieved.

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