, Volume 26, Issue 15, pp 8313–8323 | Cite as

A kinetic study on the hydrolysis of corncob residues to levulinic acid in the FeCl3–NaCl system

  • Chao Wang
  • Guihua Yang
  • Xueming Zhang
  • Lupeng Shao
  • Gaojin Lyu
  • Jianzhen Mao
  • Shijie Liu
  • Feng XuEmail author
Original Research


Levulinic acid (LA) production from corncob acid hydrolysis residues (CAHR) using FeCl3 as Lewis acid catalyst in green solutions of salt was investigated. The reaction kinetic relationships were determined in the temperature range of 160–180 °C, with FeCl3 concentrations of 0.12–0.36 M, and a reaction time of 0–60 min. The maximum LA concentration of 59.0 mol% (24.5 g/L) was achieved at 170 °C in a 30% NaCl solution containing 0.24 M FeCl3. A pseudo first-order kinetic model was proposed to describe the cellulose deconstruction to LA. The model agreed perfectly with the evolution in the concentrations of the major compounds such as glucose, 5-hydroxymethylfurfural and LA during the CAHR hydrolysis. The kinetic model developed for CAHR was in good agreement with that previously developed for other lignocellulosic systems. Based on our kinetic model and reaction system, the LA yield is increased at the lower end of the temperature range with the higher acid concentrations. The results indicated that the concentrated seawater after desalination could be a green solvent in the biorefinery.


Kinetics Levulinic acid Corncob acid hydrolysis residues FeCl3 NaCl 



The authors are Grateful for the financial support of this research from the National Key R and D Program of China (2016YFD0600803).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare no competing financial interest.


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Copyright information

© Springer Nature B.V. 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Chao Wang
    • 1
  • Guihua Yang
    • 1
  • Xueming Zhang
    • 2
  • Lupeng Shao
    • 1
  • Gaojin Lyu
    • 1
  • Jianzhen Mao
    • 1
  • Shijie Liu
    • 3
  • Feng Xu
    • 1
    • 2
    Email author
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Biobased Material and Green Papermaking, Qilu University of TechnologyShandong Academy of SciencesJinanChina
  2. 2.Beijing Key Laboratory of Lignocellulosic ChemistryBeijing Forestry UniversityBeijingChina
  3. 3.College of Environmental Science and ForestryState University of New YorkSyracuseUSA

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