Production of levulinic acid from sugarcane bagasse
Mthembu, Lethiwe Debra
MetadataShow full item record
The main aim of this work was to produce levulinic acid (LA) from sugarcane bagasse (SB) and since there is approximately 3 000 000 tons of bagasse produced per annum by 16 factories that are located on the north coast of Kwa-Zulu Natal, after the extraction of sugar. For this project fructose was firstly used for the production of LA, thereafter SB was used to produce LA. Cellulose was extracted from sugarcane bagasse using two types of pre-treatments namely (i) acid-alkali pre-treatment and (ii) liquid hot water (LHW). In the latter method acid hydrolysis and enzymatic hydrolysis was used to hydrolyse cellulose to glucose. For the acid-alkali pre-treatment work, two types of bagasse was used namely (i) mill-run bagasse and (ii) depithed bagasse and for the LHW a mill-run bagasse (pellets form) was used. In both pre-treatment methods the glucose solution was then acid catalysed by two different acids (i) an environment friendly acid, methanesulfonic acid (MSA) and (ii) sulphuric acid, producing levulinic acid. The results showed that MSA and sulphuric acid produced almost the same yield of LA but, MSA is preferred for the production of LA since it is less toxic and less corrosive than sulphuric acid.