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Novel hybrid process for the conversion of microcrystalline cellulose to value-added chemicals: part 2: effect of constant voltage on product selectivity
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In this study, electrochemical degradation of microcrystalline cellulose (MCC) under hot-compressed water was investigated via application of constant voltage on reaction medium. Constant voltage ranges from 2.5 to 8.0 V was applied between anode (Titanium) and cathode (reactor wall). As an electrolyte and proton source 5–25 mM of H2SO4 was used. Reactions were carried out in a specially designed batch reactor (450 mL) made of T316 for 240 min at temperature of 200 °C.MCC decomposition products such as glucose, fructose, furfural, 5-HMF and levulinic acid were detected and quantified by High Performance Liquid Chromatography (HPLC). In the absence of electrolyte, applied voltage (2.5 and 4.0 V) decreased the total organic carbon (TOC) yield, in contrast at 8.0 V, TOC yield increased to 13%. Application of 8.0 V in hydrothermal conditions alter MCC decomposition pathway selectively to furfural (15%). Addition of electrolyte (5 mM, H2SO4) and application of 2.5 V potential increased TOC (54%) and changed the decomposition pathway in favor of 5-HMF (30%) and levulinic acid (21%). The structural changes in solid residues of electrochemically reacted MCC was analyzed by Fourier Transform Infrared Spectroscopy (FTIR) and found that MCC particles functionalized by carboxylic acid and sulfonated groups by the application of constant voltage to reaction medium. In the presence of electrolyte, under certain voltage (2.5 V), functionalization of solid particles became more obvious in FTIR spectrum results. Therefore, change in the selectivity values of degradation products were conducted with the functionalization of MCC particles due to applied voltage under sub-critical conditions.