Towards the development of a novel “bamboo-refinery” concept: Selective bamboo fractionation by means of a microwave-assisted, acid-catalysed, organosolv process

T. Li, Javier Remón*, Z. Jiang, V. L. Budarin, J. H. Clark

*Corresponding author for this work

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This work addresses a novel microwave-assisted, acid-catalysed, organosolv (EtOH/H2O) system for the selective fractionation of bamboo, examining the effects of the temperature (110–190 °C), solvent system (EtOH/H2O) and catalyst amount (0–5 vol.% formic acid) on the process. The statistical analysis of the results revealed that the operating variables have a significant influence on bamboo fractionation, allowing the selective production of (i) a cellulose-rich solid fraction, (ii) a hemicellulose rich water-soluble fraction and (iii) a lignin rich solid fraction. The yields of each of these fractions varied between 51 and 94%, 2 and 23% and 2 and 32%, respectively. Increasing temperature exerted a positive effect on bamboo decomposition, increasing the overall bamboo conversion and influencing the effect that the solvent system (EtOH/H2O) has on the process. At low tem- perature (110 °C) the solvent system does not have much influence, while a synergetic interaction between EtOH and H2O took place at higher temperatures, which allowed better results to be obtained with EtOH/H2O mix- tures than with the pure solvents alone. The effect of the catalyst was relatively weak, being greatest when using a high temperature (190 °C) and high proportions of water (> 85 vol.%) in the solvent system. With respect to the properties of each fraction, the cellulose rich solid fraction was made up of un-reacted cellulose (44–83 wt. %), hemicellulose (0–21 wt.%) and lignin (12–34 wt.%); the water-soluble hemicellulose rich fraction consisted of a mixture of oligomers, sugars, carboxylic acids, ketones and furans; and the solid rich lignin fraction com- prised high purity (> 95 wt.%) organosolv lignin. The optimisation of the process revealed that by using a temperature of 190 °C, a solvent system consisting of 45 vol.% EtOH and 55 vol.% H2O with a concentration of formic acid of 5 vol.% it is possible to fractionate bamboo into a high purity (84 wt.%) cellulose solid fraction, very pure (> 95%) organosolv lignin and a rich water-soluble hemicellulose fraction consisting of a mixture of oligomers (27 wt.%), sugars (56 wt.%) and carboxylic acids (14 wt.%); thus converting this process into a very promising method for the selective fractionation of bamboo.
Original languageEnglish
Article number
Pages (from-to)147-160
Number of pages14
JournalEnergy Conversion and Management
Issue number1
Early online date13 Nov 2017
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2018

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Crown Copyright © 2017 Published by Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.This is an author-produced version of the published paper. Uploaded in accordance with the publisher’s self-archiving policy.


  • Bamboo
  • Biomass fractionation
  • Microwaves
  • Organosolv
  • Value-added products

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