Synthesis, Characterization and Performance Evaluation of a Solid Acid Catalyst Prepared from Coconut Shell for Hydrolyzing Pretreated Acacia nilotica Heartwood


The present investigation aims to develop a solid acid-type heterogeneous catalyst for the hydrolysis of biomass using coconut shell, an inexpensive and easily available material, as yet unexplored in this field. Catalyst characterization by scanning electron micrography, X-ray diffraction, FTIR spectroscopy and nitrogen adsorption has been carried out. Pretreated sawdust from Acacia nilotica heartwood and microcrystalline cellulose were hydrolyzed in aqueous medium using the developed catalyst. Maximum sugar yields of 91% and 93% were obtained on hydrolysis of pretreated sawdust and microcrystalline cellulose, respectively. The principal hydrolysis product was glucose with a selectivity of 98%. These results highlight the potential of the developed catalyst for use in industrial biomass saccharification.

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Reaction temperature (°C)


Catalyst/biomass ratio


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The authors express their heartfelt thanks to the laboratory assistants of the Department of Chemical Engineering, University of Calcutta, India, for their cooperation in carrying out the work. The authors also gratefully thank the SEM section of the Department of Metallurgical Engineering and Material Science, Jadavpur University, India, for their cooperation. The authors would also like to thank the Department of Polymer Science and Technology, University of Calcutta, for providing the facilities for XRD and FTIR. Last, but not the least, the authors would like to thank the authorities of the University of Calcutta, for providing the financial support for this research work.

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Correspondence to Abhyuday Mallick.

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Mallick, A., Mukhopadhyay, M. & Ash, S. Synthesis, Characterization and Performance Evaluation of a Solid Acid Catalyst Prepared from Coconut Shell for Hydrolyzing Pretreated Acacia nilotica Heartwood. J. Inst. Eng. India Ser. E 101, 69–76 (2020).

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  • Lignocellulosic biomass
  • Biomass saccharification
  • Sulfonated activated carbon
  • Response surface analysis