Date of Graduation

5-2012

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Biological and Agricultural Engineering

Advisor

Carrier, Danielle Julie, 1959- J.

Reader

Griffis, Carl L.

Second Reader

Costello, Thomas A.

Abstract

Hemicellose-derived oligomers are key components in hemicellulose depolymerization into the five-carbon carbohydrate xylose, a key operation in the production of cellulosic biofuels. Unfortunately, hemicellulose oligomers do not only depolymerize directly into xylose, but also into degradation compounds that reduce the overall production of cellulosic biofuels. Because commercially available oligomers are prohibitively expensive, this study was carried out using relatively inexpensive commercial grade xylose. Understanding the degradation of xylose is important for its impact on the economic viability of the monomeric sugars-to-ethanol conversion. From experimental data and ensuing statistical analysis, initial xylose concentrations did not result in different xylose degradation rates, confirming that, indeed, the reaction was first order. The average degradation rate of xylose at 120°C water, 120°C 1% acid, 200°C water and 200°C 1% acid were 0.002, 0.001, 0.024 and 0.409 min-1, respectively. The significance of this study showed that subsequent kinetic studies to be conducted with precious xylose oligomers could be performed at 1 g per l, and the degradation rate will remain first order up to the concentration of 5 g per l.

Keywords

biofuel, kinetic studies, xylose

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Engineering Commons

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