A study of ionic liquids for dissolution of sugarcane bagasse

Keskar, Sai S. (2012) A study of ionic liquids for dissolution of sugarcane bagasse. PhD by Publication, Queensland University of Technology.


Over the last decade, Ionic Liquids (ILs) have been used for the dissolution and derivatization of isolated cellulose. This ability of ILs is now sought for their application in the selective dissolution of cellulose from lignocellulosic biomass, for the manufacture of cellulosic ethanol. However, there are significant knowledge gaps in the understanding of the chemistry of the interaction of biomass and ILs. While imidazolium ILs have been used successfully to dissolve both isolated crystalline cellulose and components of lignocellulosic biomass, phosphonium ILs have not been sufficiently explored for the use in dissolution of lignocellulosic biomass. This thesis reports on the study of the chemistry of sugarcane bagasse with phosphonium ILs.

Qualitative and quantitative measurements of biomass components dissolved in the phosphonium ionic liquids (ILs), trihexyltetradecylphosphonium chloride ([P66614]Cl) and tributylmethylphosphonium methylsulphate ([P4441]MeSO4) are obtained using attenuated total reflectance-Fourier Transform Infra Red (FTIR). Absorption bands related to cellulose, hemicelluloses and lignin dissolution monitored in situ in biomass-IL mixtures indicate lignin dissolution in both ILs and some holocellulose dissolution in the hydrophilic [P4441]MeSO4. The kinetics of lignin dissolution reported here indicate that while dissolution in the hydrophobic IL [P66614]Cl appears to follow an accepted mechanism of acid catalysed β-aryl ether cleavage, dissolution in the hydrophilic IL [P4441]MeSO4 does not appear to follow this mechanism and may not be followed by condensation reactions (initiated by reactive ketones). The quantitative measurement of lignin dissolution in phosphonium ILs based on absorbance at 1510 cm-1 has demonstrated utility and greater precision than the conventional Klason lignin method.

The cleavage of lignin β-aryl ether bonds in sugarcane bagasse by the ionic liquid [P66614]Cl, in the presence of catalytic amounts of mineral acid. (ca. 0.4 %). The delignification process of bagasse is studied over a range of temperatures (120 °C to 150 °C) by monitoring the production of β-ketones (indicative of cleavage of β-aryl ethers) using FTIR spectroscopy and by compositional analysis of the undissolved fractions. Maximum delignification is obtained at 150 °C, with 52 % of lignin removed from the original lignin content of bagasse. No delignification is observed in the absence of acid which suggests that the reaction is acid catalysed with the IL solubilising the lignin fragments. The rate of delignification was significantly higher at 150 °C, suggesting that crossing the glass transition temperature of lignin effects greater freedom of rotation about the propanoid carbon-carbon bonds and leads to increased cleavage of β-aryl ethers. An attempt has been made to propose a probable mechanism of delignifcation of bagasse with the phosphonuim IL. All polymeric components of bagasse, a lignocellulosic biomass, dissolve in the hydrophilic ionic liquid (IL) tributylmethylphosphonium methylsulfate ([P4441]MeSO4) with and without a catalytic amount of acid (H2SO4, ca. 0.4 %). The presence of acid significantly increases the extent of dissolution of bagasse in [P4441]MeSO4 (by ca. 2.5 times under conditions used here). The dissolved fractions can be partially recovered by the addition of an antisolvent (water) and are significantly enriched in lignin. Unlike acid catalysed dissolution in the hydrophobic IL tetradecyltrihexylphosphonium chloride there is little evidence of cleavage of β-aryl ether bonds of lignin dissolving in [P4441]MeSO4 (with and without acid), but this mechanism may play some role in the acid catalysed dissolution. The XRD of the undissolved fractions suggests that the IL may selectively dissolve the amorphous cellulose component, leaving behind crystalline material.

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ID Code: 50829
Item Type: QUT Thesis (PhD by Publication)
Supervisor: Edye, Leslie & Doherty, William
Keywords: sugarcane bagasse, phosphonium ionic liquids, ATR-FTIR, pretreatment, delignification, acid in ionic liquid, acid catalysed delignification
Divisions: Past > QUT Faculties & Divisions > Faculty of Science and Technology
Institution: Queensland University of Technology
Deposited On: 08 Jun 2012 02:44
Last Modified: 10 Sep 2015 02:22

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