Levulinic acid is a key platform chemical. Even gasoline range chemicals could be produced from levulinic acid making it a strategically significant compound. Producing levulinic acid from biomass is attractive from economic as well as environmental aspects. An acid catalyzed hydrothermal process for converting biomass to levulinic acid is reported. The effect of biomass type, acid (HCl) concentration, and reaction temperature of hydrothermal treatment on the conversion of biomass and yield of levulinic acid were studied. Widely available cellulosic biomass and agricultural wastes, namely, Cicer arietinum, cotton, Pinus radiata and sugarcane bagasse were successfully converted to levulinic acid. Although HPCL analysis could not be performed, qualitative and quantitative analysis of levulinic acid was conducted using 13C and 1H NMR spectroscopy. Under optimal reaction conditions (423 K, 1 M HCl, 2 h) the yields of levulinic acid obtained from Cicer arietinum, cotton, Pinus radiata and sugarcane bagasse were 32.6, 44.0, 19.0 and 36.5 wt%.
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