PhD Oral Defense of Agneev Mukherjee, Department of Bioresource Engineering
The conversion of biomass to chemicals on an industrial scale at a competitive cost requires the development of biorefineries analogous to petrochemical refineries. In a biorefinery, different biomass feedstocks are converted into platform chemicals which can, in turn, yield a large number of end-products. Hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) and levulinic acid (LA) are two promising platform chemicals. They can be produced from carbohydrate or lignocellulosic feedstock via acid hydrolysis. Despite the potential importance of HMF and LA and extensive research on them at the laboratory level, few commercial production plants have been reported.