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Ionic Liquids, a New Role in Biofuel Production

Release time:2012-05-23 10:27:00        Reading times:

Researchers have tried to apply ionic liquids (ILs) in biofuel production. The results showed the possibility of using ILs as solvents for lignocellulosic bioethanol production with effective pretreatment.

ILs, due to their significant environmental benefits, process improvements and being used as both solvents and catalysts, is producing scientific breakthroughs and engineering innovations for the production of biofuels.

Experiments were conducted using ILs for lignocellulosic bioethanol production. Main steps went as physical destruction, dissolution and hydrolysis of (ligno-) cellulose. Results evidenced the success of ILs application while problems such as efficient isolation of the hydrolysis products need improvement. Then biodiesel production was tested in which ILs was applied directly as catalysts. Results showed ILs speeded up the reaction but risked the loss of the catalyst.

Environment and energy protection are highly valued today so future oil supplies encouraged the development of large-scale non-petroleum-based alternative fuels, while the traditional matter is high cost and hard to prepare and some even with harmful wastes. ILs with its advantages is a promising medium.

However, there is a lack of long-term and/or continuous biodiesel production systems based on ILs, and the accumulation of glycerol and the recovery of the ILs are likely to pose future challenges.

More details please seeApplied EnergyVolume 92