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Microwave-assisted hydrothermal treatments for biomass valorisation: a critical review

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JournalGreen Chemistry
DateAccepted/In press - 6 Apr 2021
DatePublished (current) - 7 Apr 2021
Issue number10
Volume23
Number of pages24
Pages (from-to)3502-3525
Original languageEnglish

Abstract

The sustainable conversion of biomass into biofuels, chemicals and biomaterials has gained increasing attention to ensure the well-being of present and future generations. Among the different technologies available to date for the valorisation of biomass, microwave-assisted hydrothermal conversion has recently appeared as a state-of-the-art technology, capable of furnishing a wide range of reaction products for the energy, pharmaceutical and chemistry sectors. This emerging technology combines the inherent benefits of microwave heating and the sustainable features of biomass hydrothermal valorisation. Herein, for the first time, this critical review summarises and analyses all the work conducted to date on the use of microwave-assisted hydrothermal processes (including microwave-assisted carbonisation, liquefaction and treatment/hydrolysis) for the conversion of biomass into hydrochar, bio-crude (bio-oil) and valuable chemicals. In particular, this work has put together vital information addressing the influences of the reaction conditions (temperature, time, amount and type of catalyst, biomass loading and type, and microwave power) on the yields and key properties of the reaction products. The relationships between these processing parameters and the chemical transformations involved in the processes (hydrolysis, dehydration, decarboxylation, condensation and re-polymerisation) have been described in detail, and reliable comparisons have also been established between microwave-assisted and conventional hydrothermal technologies when data were available. As a result, this critical review collects essential information on the use of this cutting-edge, recently appeared microwave-assisted hydrothermal technology, and paves the way for its expansion and future development and commercialisation.

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Javier Rem?n would like to express his gratitude to the Spanish ?Ministerio de Ciencia, Innovaci?n y Universidades? for the Juan de la Cierva Fellowship awarded (IJC2018-037110-I).

Publisher Copyright:
© The Royal Society of Chemistry 2021.

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