Furfural production

Naturally occurring and readily replenishable agricultural residues like sugarcane bagasse (a byproduct of sugarcane harvesting), corn cobs, wood pulp or cereal byproducts such as the hulls of cotton seed, oats and rice make up a huge renewable feedstock for furfural production. These hemicellulosic agricultural wastes are all rich in pentosans, the precursor polysaccharide of furfural. The worldwide leading manufacturer of this renewable chemical, Central Romana Corporation, is located in the Dominican Republic, conveniently situated near where the sugarcane is grown.


After the sugarcane is harvested and processed, the bagasse is valorized for furfural production. The bagasse is then placed in a digester under high-pressure steam, where the pentosans are hydrolyzed by strong mineral acids into monomeric C5 sugars. Subsequent cyclodehydration of the pentoses yields furfural. Once the furfural has been recovered by steam distillation, followed by separation into water and furfural. In the final step, the furfural is subjected to purification.


Sugarcane processing

From sugarcane to sucrose

Input: sugarcane

  1. Cane preparation
  2. Extraction
  3. Juice clarification
  4. Juice concentration
  5. Crystallisation and Separation
  6. Refining


Output: sucrose

Furfural processing

From sugarcane to furfural

Input: sugarcane bagasse

  1. Hydrolysis (H+,H2O)
  2. Cyclodehydration (H+,-3H2O)
  3. Steam Destillation
  4. Separation (H2O/Furfural)
  5. Purification


Output: furfural

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