Industrial and Engineering Chemistry Research, 54, 8368-8373 (2015)
The acidic 1-butyl-3-methylimidazolium hydrogen sulfate ([bmim][HSO4]) ionic liquid was explored as both a reaction medium and a catalyst in the furfural production from xylose. Preliminary experiments were carried out at 100-140 °C for 15-480 min in systems containing just xylose dissolved in [bmim][HSO4] in the absence of externally added catalysts. More than 95% xylose conversion was achieved when operating at 120 or 140 °C for 300 and 90 min, respectively; but just 36.7% of the initial xylose was converted to furfural. Operation in biphasic reaction systems (in the presence of toluene, methyl-isobutyl ketone or dioxane as extraction solvents) at 140 °C under selected conditions resulted in improved furfural production (73.8%, 80.3%, and 82.2% xylose conversion to furfural for the cited extraction solvents, respectively).