Journal of Oil Palm Research Vol. 33  September 2021 p.  473-481
DOI: https://doi.org/10.21894/jopr.2020.0109

PRODUCTION OF FURFURAL FROM OIL PALM FIBRES

Author(s): NUR ELIYANTI ALI OTHMAN1*; ASTIMAR ABD AZIZ1; WAN HASAMUDIN WAN HASSAN1; NOR FAIZAH JAILANI1; FAZLIANA ABD HAMID1 and NOORSHAMSIANA ABDUL WAHAB1

Furfural is a chemical compound produced by biomass rich in pentoses content in the hemicellulose as raw material, in a reaction catalysed in presence of strong acids. This study determines the process parameters for converting xylan, extracted from oil palm empty fruit bunches (OPEFB), into furfural using a two-step process, namely acid hydrolysis, followed by dehydration. Xylan was first extracted from OPEFB using direct alkaline extraction method. The resulting xylan was then treated with a known concentration of sulphuric acid (H2SO4) (ranging from 11% v/v~15% v/v) with reaction time (ranging from 30-150 min), with or without presence of sodium chloride (NaCl) as co-catalyst to produce xylose. After dehydration process, xylose was converted into furfural with parameters as in dehydration process. Furfural was characterised using Fourier transform infra-red (FTIR) and Proton nuclear magnetic resonance (1H-NMR). FTIR spectrum exhibited a very strong absorption at 1706 cm–1, indicating the presence of the conjugated carbonyl (C=O) group. The highest yield of furfural produced was 9.01% after treatment with 15% H2SO4 using NaCl as catalyst for 90 min. However, pentosans only contribute a portion of the total composition of lignocellulose, compared to cellulose which is the largest fraction of lignocellulosic biomass. Therefore, the furfural should be extracted using an integrated value economy method.

Keywords: , ,

Author Information
1 Malaysian Palm Oil Board, 6 Persiaran Institusi, Bandar Baru Bangi, 43000 Kajang, Selangor, Malaysia.

* Corresponding author e-mail: nureliyanti@mpob.gov.my


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