Environmental sustainability assessment of HMF and FDCA production from lignocellulosic biomass through life cycle assessment (LCA)
Bello S, Salim I, Méndez-Trelles P, Rodil E, Feijoó G, Moreira MT
Holzforschung, 73: 105-115
2,5-Furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA) and 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) are top biomass-based platform chemicals with promising potential and an essential part of the future of green chemistry. HMF can be obtained mainly from fructose or glucose. Lignocellulosic glucose has a high production potential from not edible biomass. In the present paper life cycle assessment (LCA) was performed aiming at a better understanding of the environmental performance of the production of FDCA and HMF from lignocellulosic feedstock. Two case studies from the literature were modeled to obtain the life cycle inventory data. The production routes to FDCA comprise seven different process sections: hydrolysis, HMF synthesis, HMF recovery, FDCA synthesis, FDCA flash separation, FDCA purification and HMF boiler. By means of the LCA methodology, solvents such as dimethyl sulfoxide (DMSO) and dichloromethane (DCM), together with the energy demand, were found to be clear critical points in the process. Two scenarios were in focus: Scenario 1 considered the purification of FDCA through crystallization, whereas in Scenario 2 purification was performed through distillation.