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Process development for sugarcane conversion to ethyl levulinate: a route for a viable biodiesel additive

Grant number: 16/10450-1
Support type:Scholarships in Brazil - Master
Effective date (Start): September 01, 2016
Effective date (End): July 31, 2018
Field of knowledge:Engineering - Chemical Engineering - Chemical Process Industries
Principal researcher:Rubens Maciel Filho
Grantee:Jean Felipe Leal Silva
Home Institution: Faculdade de Engenharia Química (FEQ). Universidade Estadual de Campinas (UNICAMP). Campinas , SP, Brazil


Ethyl levulinate is a derivative of levulinic acid with potential to be used in the near future as a diesel additive because of its unique characteristics. Produced exclusively from renewable origins, ethyl levulinate is the product of the esterification of ethanol with levulinic acid, being the later obtained from hydrolysis of biomass rich in cellulose. However, the large scale production of ethyl levulinate is not feasible these days due to lack of proper conversion technology. The objective of this research proposal is to propose and investigate a process of hydrolysis of biomass focusing on the production of levulinic acid and its further conversion to ethyl levulinate, taking into account the economic factors which are the most important in reducing the production costs. Several options of process conditions and downstream processing options are going to be evaluated, and the results will be analyzed so as to optimize the production cost to a minimum. At the end, this study will provide better insight of optimal conditions for reactor design, which is still being the major obstacle for the economic success of levulinic acid and ethyl levulinate production. (AU)

News published in Agência FAPESP Newsletter about the scholarship:

Scientific publications (4)
(References retrieved automatically from Web of Science and SciELO through information on FAPESP grants and their corresponding numbers as mentioned in the publications by the authors)
LEAL SILVA, JEAN F.; MACIEL FILHO, RUBENS; WOLF MACIEL, MARIA R. Process Design and Technoeconomic Assessment of the Extraction of Levulinic Acid from Biomass Hydrolysate Using n-Butyl Acetate, Hexane, and 2-Methyltetrahydrofuran. Industrial & Engineering Chemistry Research, v. 59, n. 23, p. 11031-11041, JUN 10 2020. Web of Science Citations: 0.
LOPES, EMILIA SAVIOLI; SILVA, JEAN FELIPE LEAL; RIVERA, ELMER CCOPA; GOMES, ALANA PETRINA; LOPES, MELINA SAVIOLI; MACIEL FILHO, RUBENS; TOVAR, LAURA PLAZAS. Challenges to Levulinic Acid and Humins Valuation in the Sugarcane Bagasse Biorefinery Concept. BioEnergy Research, v. 13, n. 3 APR 2020. Web of Science Citations: 1.
LEAL SILVA, JEAN FELIPE; MARIANO, ADRIANO PINTO; MACIEL FILHO, RUBENS. Economic potential of 2-methyltetrahydrofuran (MTHF) and ethyl levulinate (EL) produced from hemicelluloses-derived furfural. BIOMASS & BIOENERGY, v. 119, p. 492-502, DEC 2018. Web of Science Citations: 3.
LEAL SILVA, JEAN FELIPE; GREKIN, REBECCA; MARIANO, ADRIANO PINTO; MACIEL FILHO, RUBENS. Making Levulinic Acid and Ethyl Levulinate Economically Viable: A Worldwide Technoeconomic and Environmental Assessment of Possible Routes. ENERGY TECHNOLOGY, v. 6, n. 4, p. 613-639, APR 2018. Web of Science Citations: 15.
Academic Publications
(References retrieved automatically from State of São Paulo Research Institutions)

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