Furfural (FUR) was produced from xylose using a biphasic batch reaction system. Water-immiscible organic solvents such as isophorone, 2-methyltetrahydrofuran (2-MTHF) and cyclopentyl methyl ether (CPME) were used to promptly extract FUR from the aqueous phase in order to avoid the degradation to humins as largely as possible. The effect of time, temperature, organic solvent and organic-to-aqueous ratio on xylose conversion and FUR yield were investigated in auto-catalyzed conditions. Experiments at three temperatures (170, 190 and 210 °C) were carried out in a stirred microwave-assisted batch reactor, which established the optimal conditions for achieving the highest FUR yield. The maximum FUR yields from xylose were 78 mol% when using CPME, 48 mol% using isophorone and 71 mol% in the case of 2-MTHF at an aqueous to organic phase ratio of 1:1 (v/v). Birch hydrolysate was also used to show the high furfural yield that can be obtained in the biphasic system under optimized conditions. The present study suggests that CPME can be used as a green and efficient extraction solvent for the conversion of xylose into furfural without salt addition.
- Prehydrolysate liquor