A review on solvent systems for furfural production from lignocellulosic biomass

Cornelius Basil Tien Loong Lee, Ta Yeong Wu

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

    23 Citations (Scopus)


    Utilizing biomass in biorefineries is a favorable sustainable method to produce platform chemicals, materials and energy. Conversions of lignocellulosic biomass to chemicals have greatly attracted attention recently due to its abundance in nature and high availability at low costs. The potential of lignocellulosic biomass lies in its ability to be transformed to clean energy, biochemical and industrial products. Furfural has been identified as a valuable platform chemical that can be derived from lignocellulosic biomass. Furfural could also be regarded as sustainable alternatives to petrochemical products. Currently, more than 80 furfural-derived chemicals are used in various industries. The main aim of this review was to discuss various solvent systems that emerged for furfural production from lignocellulosic biomass. Conventionally, furfural is produced by reactions in aqueous systems employing H2SO4 as the catalyst. In an effort to improve furfural production, various solvent systems started to emerge, namely organic solvent system, biphasic system, ionic liquid system, and deep eutectic solvent system. Advantages and limitations of each solvent system were discussed herein. In this review, the background of furfural and its reaction pathways were also discussed. Moreover, opportunities, challenges and limitations to advance furfural production in biorefineries were addressed in this review as well.

    Original languageEnglish
    Article number110172
    Number of pages19
    JournalRenewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews
    Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021


    • Aqueous system
    • Biomass valorization
    • Biorefinery
    • Biphasic system
    • Deep eutectic solvent system
    • Ionic liquid system
    • Organic system
    • Waste management

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