Fenton Depolymerization of Cellulosic Biomass in Modified Cuprammonium Solution

Jing Hua Cao, Joe R. Zhao


This preliminary study developed a novel cellulose pretreatment method for cost-effective cellulosic utilization using a modified cuprammonium solution as a solvent to dissolve cellulose followed by molecular oxygen/Fenton depolymerization. The modified cuprammonium solution is composed of cuprammonium solution and a special catalyst that could efficiently enhance cellulosic oxygen sensitivity and therefore improve cellulosic depolymerization. The molecular oxygen depolymerization and Fenton depolymerization of cellulosic biomass dissolved in the modified cuprammonium solution were investigated. The results demonstrate that the Fenton reaction efficiently depolymerized the cellulose dissolved in the modified cuprammonium solution and reached the monomers with no loss of organic carbon, and almost all the cellulose maintained solubility without reagglomeration after cuprammonium was removed. Molecular oxygen oxidation reduced the cellulose average degree of polymerization (DP) to approximately 4 with less cost, and the oxygen pre-oxidation increased the H2O2 utilization in the Fenton depolymerization and remarkably reduced the H2O2 requirement.


Cellulosic biomass; Fenton reaction; Depolymerization; Modified cuprammonium solution; Cellulosic pretreatment; Cellulosic ethanol

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