Furfural production from biomass residues: Current technologies, challenges and future prospects

Khai Jie Yong, Ta Yeong Wu, Cornelius Basil Tien Loong Lee, Zhi Jin Lee, Qinpu Liu, Jamaliah Md Jahim, Qiaoqiao Zhou, Lian Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

59 Citations (Scopus)


Hemicellulose-rich lignocellulosic biomass is an ideal source of carbohydrates to produce furfural commercially. Furfural is recognized as a versatile platform chemical with a bright future in many industries, which can be obtained from the hemicellulose fraction via acid hydrolysis followed by recovery and, lastly purification through a distillation system. This review provides a critical analysis of the recent progress of industrial furfural production from lignocellulosic biomass worldwide. Although old-fashioned process technologies are well established and adopted widely, many novel technologies have emerged to overcome several drawbacks that induce sustainability challenges as well as fully utilize other lignocellulosic components, including cellulose and lignin. Furfural forms the natural precursor for many furan-based derivatives that are vital in the biochemicals and biofuels manufacturing sector, with furfuryl alcohol being the most prominent downstream product. Corn cobs and sugarcane bagasse are the most commonly used raw materials by furfural manufacturing companies on a commercial scale. Furfural market analysis is also performed to study the ongoing economic trends. Techno-economic analyses of furfural production are reviewed to provide insights and strategies on improving furfural production. These topics are reviewed, as well as the future technology development opportunities, including extraction techniques using supercritical fluid, the application of green solvent, and the use of heterogeneous acid catalyst to enhance furfural production.

Original languageEnglish
Article number106458
Number of pages18
JournalBiomass and Bioenergy
Publication statusPublished - Jun 2022


  • Agricultural waste reuse
  • Biomass valorization
  • Biorefinery
  • Lignocellulosic biomass
  • Waste management
  • Wood technology

Cite this