Kinetics of Formic Acid-catalyzed Cellulose Hydrolysis

Laura Kupiainen, Juha Ahola, Juha Tanskanen


Hydrolysis is a reaction to produce sugars from lignocellulosic raw materials for biochemical production. The present study elucidates the hydrolysis of cellulose and formation of glucose decomposition products catalyzed by 5% to 20% (w/w) formic acid at 180 to 220 °C with an initial cellulose concentration of 10 to 100 g/L. Microcrystalline cellulose was used as a model compound. The experimental findings indicated that cellulose hydrolysis follows first-order kinetics in formic acid. A side reaction from cellulose to non-glucose products was required to explain the experimental results. A kinetic model was developed for the hydrolysis of microcrystalline cellulose in formic acid, based on a rate constant expression in accordance with the specific acid catalysis. The model showed good agreement with the experimental data. This study demonstrates how kinetic parameters can be fitted in a case-specific manner for the hydrolysis part of the kinetic model, while the well-established glucose decomposition model is utilized directly from literature.


Dilute sulfuric acid; Cellulose hydrolysis; Kinetic modelling; Reaction kinetics

Full Text: PDF

Welcome to BioResources! This online, peer-reviewed journal is devoted to the science and engineering of biomaterials and chemicals from lignocellulosic sources for new end uses and new capabilities. The editors of BioResources would be very happy to assist you during the process of submitting or reviewing articles. Please note that logging in is required in order to submit or review articles. Martin A. Hubbe, (919) 513-3022,; Lucian A. Lucia, (919) 515-7707, URLs:; ISSN: 1930-2126