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Cellulose conversion reactions assisted by Carbon Dioxide

Abstract

Cellulose is an abundant, renewable natural resource and has a consolidated industrial production by a highly developed industry. Equally abundant, carbon dioxide registers a significant concentration increase in atmospheric due to the use of fossil fuels in human activities and such increase is considered as the main cause of climate changes. In this context, nowadays the industry seeks new applications for cellulose and the products that are the object of this project fit into this perspective, combining two abundant raw materials (cellulose and carbon dioxide) for the development of new products and respective production processes. From different sources of commercial cellulose (bleached pulps, pulp for dissolution, cellulose nanofibrillated and microcrystalline cellulose), the project aims at the production of nanocrystalline cellulose and cellulose carbonate. Carbon dioxide will be used in the sub / supercritical states to acidify the reaction medium (nanocrystalline cellulose production) or as carbonation reagent (cellulose carbonate production). The cellulose nanocrystals are applied in high performance composites and in the pharmaceutical and optics and electronic devices industries. The carbonation of cellulose aims its dissolution and subsequent production of regenerated cellulose by the controlled release of carbon dioxide. In addition to obtaining higher added value products from renewable raw materials, the proposed processes represent an important environmental gain by reducing the consumption of sulfuric acid in the production of cellulose nanocrystals and the replacing carbon disulfide by carbon dioxide in the production of regenerated cellulose (rayon, viscose and cellophane). (AU)

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