Catalytic valorisation of various paper wastes into levulinic acid, hydroxymethylfurfural, and furfural: Influence of feedstock properties and ferric chloride

Shanta Dutta, Qiaozhi Zhang, Yang Cao, Chunfei Wu, Konstantinos Moustakas, Shicheng Zhang, Ka Hing Wong, Daniel C.W. Tsang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review


Lignocellulosic paper waste constitutes a major waste stream globally, which should be valorised for chemical production. However, paper properties (e.g., feedstock composition, cellulosic crystallinity, and thermal stability/degradability) vary with raw materials and pulping processes. This study investigated levulinic acid (LA), hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), and furfural production by H2SO4 and FeCl3 catalysed conversion of nine types of paper wastes in a green solvent system (1:1 γ-valerolactone/water). At 160–180 °C for 1–20 min, ∼23–27 wt% LA yield was achieved from sanitary papers, tracing/parchment paper, and paper food box mainly containing crystalline cellulose, while a lower LA yield (∼10–20 wt%) was obtained from other paper wastes with high contents of ash and lignin. A higher selectivity towards HMF (∼12 mol%) was achieved in the presence of FeCl3. A furfural yield of ∼ 4–7.5 wt% was also obtained from the hemicellulose content. This study elucidates crucial factors and desirable characteristics of paper waste for catalytic valorisation.

Original languageEnglish
Article number127376
JournalBioresource Technology
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2022


  • Circular economy
  • Green solvent
  • Lignocellulosic biomass
  • Platform chemicals
  • Sustainable biorefinery
  • Waste management/recycling

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Bioengineering
  • Environmental Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment
  • Waste Management and Disposal

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