The recent development in the field of biomass processing with green solvents drove to develop this interdisciplinary project that aims to fully explore the potential of IONIC LIQUIDS (ILs)and SUPERCRITICAL FLUIDS (scF) to burst the biorefinery concept. To accomplish this challenging task, the green chemistry principles are explored to give a great contribution in the biorefinery concept. Both, ILs and scF proven already their utility in the production of high value added products from null or low commercial value feedstock e.g. lignocellulosic biomass. To accomplish this challenge, this cutting-edge research project is concretised in 4 interconnected tasks aiming at:
Task 1. Hemicellulose-based products: 1) The use of the CO2 assisted process of hemicellulose hydrolysis to xylooligosaccharides (XOS) or xylose; 2) Fractionation of biomass by ILs and recovery of each fraction with high yield and purity allowing the hemicellulose conversion by CO2 to XOS.
Task 2. New pivot chemicals from cellulose: 1) Direct conversion of cellulose fraction produced by the CO2 biomass processing to levulinic acid(LA) by tailor-made ILs; 2) Hydrolysis and dehydration of cellulose from the IL process to LA by specific ILs used.
Task 3. Novel lignin origin vanillin and ferulic acid production: 1) The conversion of lignin from both CO2 or IL processes to yield value added products e.g. vanillin.
Task 4. Processes’ Benchmarking: 1) Comparison of both CO2- and IL-based processes; 2) The use of green metrics methodology to perform techno-economic analysis of both processes.