Synthesis of Biomass Sourced Value Added Chemicals by Hydrothermal Electrolysis Technique (HYDELTECH)
EC-REA Marie Sklodowska-Curie Actions Career Integration Grant (CIG) Number: 321741
Biomass represents an abundant carbon-neutral renewable resource for the production of bioenergy and biomaterials, and its enhanced use would address several societal needs. Advances in genetics, biotechnology, process chemistry, and engineering are leading to a new manufacturing concept for converting renewable biomass to valuable fuels and products, generally referred to as the biorefinery. Depending on there being an adequate technology this residual matter can be converted into commercial products either as raw material for secondary processes, as operating supplies or as intermediates of new products.
The objective of this project proposed by Dr. Yuksel is to develop a green technology for using biomass as feedstocks to produce higher value chemicals such as glycols, levunic acid, aspartic acid, 1,3-propanediol, 3-hydroxybutyrolactone, acrylic acid, malic acid, 2-methyl-THF, etc. under hydrothermal conditions. The research will focus on two aspects of this approach, including the analysis and treatment of biomass feedstocks to produce intermediate building block chemicals and the aqueous phase chemical conversion of these intermediates to other value-added products. For this purpose, sub-critical water will be used as a reaction medium for electrolysis because it is safe, non-toxic, readily available, inexpensive, and environmentally benign. One of the approaches being used in green chemistry practices is to use water as a solvent and reaction medium where possible. Much of this project deals with liquid water at temperatures exceeding the normal boiling point which is denoted as sub-critical water.