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Sugarcane bagasse valorization by fractionation using a water-based hydrotropic process

Sugarcane bagasse is abundant agro-industrial waste that can be potentially utilized as a source of valuable compounds and biopolymers. In the present study, sugarcane bagasse from Brazil was fractionated employing an environmentally friendly hydrotropic process. Several treatments were carried out at 150 and 170°C and dwell times of 60 and 120min using unmodified 30% hydrotropic solutions as well as the solutions acidified with formic acid. The major produced fraction was cellulose pulp obtained with the yield of 44–67% (bagasse based) and the cellulose content of 60–92%. Lignins dissolved during the treatments were isolated from the spent solutions by dilution with water and filtration. The yields of the lignins were 11.8–14.7% (bagasse based) and their purity ranged from 88 to 94%. Generally, the purity of both fractions and the yield of lignin were higher at more severe process conditions. However, the more severe conditions resulted in lower average molar masses of the lignins and lower intrinsic viscosity values of the cellulose fractions. The composition of the spent solutions also varied with the treatment conditions, and, besides the lignins, they contained different amounts of dissolved hemicelluloses, sugar monomers, furfural and acetic and formic acids. The results of the present study showed that the hydrotropic process could be successfully applied for the valorization of sugarcane bagasse by its fractionation into lignin, cellulose and other products.

» Author: Konstantin Gabov, Jarl Hemming, Pedro Fardim

» Reference: Industrial Crops and Products, Volume 108

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This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation program under grant agreement N° 690103