Dietz, Carin

New Solvent development for HMF (Hydroxymethylfurfural) extraction

C. (Carin) Dietz, F. (Fausto) Gallucci, M. (Martin) van Sint Annaland

Room: STW 0.28, E-mail:


Integral process layouts will be designed and assessed on economic, environmental and technological development aspects for the conversion of cellulosic biomass into HMF via new solvent extraction techniques. Also process options for converting hemi cellulosic biomass into C5 platform chemicals will be assessed on the same criteria.

The integration of reaction and in-situ product extraction with a non-mixing solvent can strongly enhance the HMF production yield and selectivity.

This solvent should be both hydrophobic (immiscible with water) and polar (high affinity for HMF extraction). Most conventional organic solvents do not satisfy both requirements. They are either polar and water miscible, or apolar and water immiscible.  Therefore, they either have problems with cross contamination and large solvent losses, or with very low extraction efficiencies. Instead, natural ionic liquids and their analogues, e.g. deep eutectic solvents (DESs), often combine a high polarity with water immiscibility and are therefore very promising new solvents for the in situ extraction of HMF. An efficient extractor configuration (either countercurrent, under high gravity, or incorporated in a liquid membrane) will be developed.

Overal objective of the Project

Extraction solvent development

Natural DESs are mixtures of solid hydrogen bond donors (acids, sugars, alcohols, etc.) and hydrogen acceptors (salts, amino acids, etc.) that form a non-volatile liquid at room temperature upon mixing (and heating) at certain ratios.

Reactor/Extractor configuration development

The optimized solvent will be applied in a continuous extraction set-up. The challenge is to develop a continuous extraction configuration using the optimized solvent. First, a conventional liquid-liquid countercurrent extractor will be used for the extraction step. Separation efficiencies will be measured and compared to the predicted values. The extraction kinetics will also be experimentally assessed. Kinetics will be strongly dependent on the hydrodynamics of the system, which should be taken into account when fitting the data to a suitable kinetic model.