Selective extraction of lignin from lignocellulosic biomas using ionic liquids
Mkhize, Thandeka, Y.
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Globally there is a drive for the use of renewable materials for the production of biofuels or high-end value chemicals. The current production of chemicals from crude oil refining is unsustainable and leads to global warming effects. Biomass is the most attractive renewable energy source for biofuel or fine chemical production. Sugarcane bagasse is a by-product of the sugar milling industry and is abundantly available. In this study lignin was sequentially extracted using ionic liquids. The ionic liquids (ILs) 1-ethyl-3-methylimidazolium acetate ([Emim][OAc]) and triethylammonium hydrogen sulfate ([HNEt3][HSO4]) were used to fractionate the sugarcane bagasse. The pre-treatment of sugarcane bagasse was carried out at different temperatures ranging from 90 - 150 0C and reaction times ranging from 1 - 24 h in a convection oven at a 10 % biomass loading. Both ILs were able to dissolve the raw bagasse samples at 120 0C with [Emim][OAc] giving a lignin maxima of 28.8 % and a low pulp yield of 57 % after 12 h; [HNEt3][HSO4] gave a lignin recovery of 17.2 % and low pulp yield of 58.5 % after 6 h. Regenerated lignin was obtained by adding ethanol/ water to the mixture followed by vacuum filtration. The regenerated pulp materials were characterized by Scanning Electron Microscope (SEM) to study the morphology; Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) to study the characteristic bands and thermal analysis to study the thermal stability.