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Thermochemical valorisation of insoluble humins derived from the C5 and C6 sugars conversion platform

Grant number: 20/11347-5
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Scientific Initiation
Effective date (Start): December 01, 2020
Effective date (End): November 30, 2021
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Technology
Principal researcher:Laura Plazas Tovar
Grantee:Marina Gontijo Souza Macedo
Home Institution: Instituto de Ciências Ambientais, Químicas e Farmacêuticas (ICAQF). Universidade Federal de São Paulo (UNIFESP). Campus Diadema. Diadema , SP, Brazil


Humins-based by-products from sugars (pentoses - C5 and hexoses - C6) hydrolysis/dehydration reactions, catalyzed by acids, become the main responsible for breaking the circularity of the production process of levulinic acid (LA) and furfural ( FUR) and contradicts the triple bottom line concept, a pillar in the circular economy. To maintain the circular chemistry and the technological advances for sustainable development, it is necessary to integrate these by-products into a value chain as a potential source of carbon to chemicals, biomaterials, and additives. In this scientific initiation project, the humins derived from the production platform of LA and FUR from sugarcane bagasse will be valued by the thermochemical route via pyrolysis. Three main scenarios of humins formation will be investigated: Scenario i: during the production of LA catalyzed investigated in three steps; Scenario ii: during the conversion of acid-catalyzed sugarcane bagasse to produce LA investigated in a single step; and Scenario iii: during the acid-catalyzed conversion of hemicellulosic sugars from sugarcane bagasse producing FUR. Characterizations of the materials will allow us to know and investigate the composition of the elements C, H and O, and their energetic potential. The pyrolysis behavior of humins will be investigated by thermogravimetric profiles in an inert atmosphere. A kinetic model of parallel reactions will be proposed, describing the formation of fractions of gas, bio-oil, and solid (residual) from experimental data, contributing to the technological development of carbon-based biorefineries, being an alternative to reduce and eventually replace petroleum-based chemical products.

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