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Official Journal of the Japan Wood Research Society

Catalytic pyrolysis of cellulose in sulfolane with some acidic catalysts

A Correction to this article was published on 27 November 2018


Catalytic pyrolysis of cellulose in sulfolane (tetramethylene sulfone) with sulfuric acid or polyphosphoric acid gave levoglucosenone, furfural, and 5-hydroxymethyl furfural (5-HMF) up to 42.2%, 26.9%, and 8.8% (as mol% yield based on the glucose unit), respectively. Pyrolysis behaviors of the intermediates indicated the conversion pathways, and the conversion: levoglucosenone → furfural was found to require water. The control of the water content in the pyrolysis medium was quite effective in controlling the product selectivity between levoglucosenone and furfural: mild vacuum conditions to remove the product water dramatically enhanced the levoglucosenone yield, while steam distillation conditions increased the furfural and 5-HMF yields.


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Correspondence to Haruo Kawamoto.

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Kawamoto, H., Saito, S., Hatanaka, W. et al. Catalytic pyrolysis of cellulose in sulfolane with some acidic catalysts. J Wood Sci 53, 127–133 (2007).

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Key words

  • Cellulose
  • Catalytic pyrolysis
  • Acid
  • Levoglucosenone
  • Furfural