Cellulose Hydrolysis Using Oxidized Carbon Catalyst in a Plug-Flow Slurry Process

Abhijit Shrotri, Hirokazu Kobayashi, Hiroyuki Kaiki, Mizuho Yabushita, Atsushi Fukuoka

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)


The catalytic conversion of cellulose to glucose at the industrial scale is a sustainable approach to the production of fuels and chemicals. Herein, we report the hydrolysis of cellulose to glucose using an inexpensive carbon catalyst in a continuous slurry process. A carbon catalyst prepared by air oxidation showed the highest activity for cellulose hydrolysis owing to the large number of weakly acidic functional groups. The air-oxidized carbon catalyst hydrolyzed cellulose in a plug-flow slurry reactor after mix-milling to produce soluble β-1,4-glucans. Further hydrolysis of the β-1,4-glucans to glucose was achieved using a fixed-bed reactor containing Amberlyst-70 catalyst in series with the slurry reactor to obtain glucose in 59% yield. Another approach was to use dilute H3PO4 for the hydrolysis of the β-1,4-glucans to glucose with a 70% yield, resulting in a space time yield of glucose of 456 kg m-3 h-1. The simple design, short residence time, and high space time yield will enable the scaleup of this process using existing chemical technology.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14471-14478
Number of pages8
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number49
Publication statusPublished - 2017 Dec 13
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering


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