Concentrated Levulinic Acid Production from Sugar Cane Molasses

Levulinic acid (LA) is generally produced from biomass through acid hydrolysis and has been recognized as one of the top platform chemicals. In this study, concentrated LA was produced from sugar cane molasses through a superimposed reaction, in which the LA solution generated from hexose hydrolysis was further used as solvent for hydrolysis of sugar cane molasses to produce concentrated LA. After the third and fifth superimposed reactions, LA solutions with concentrations of 148 and 180 g/L were obtained, with average yields of 30.5 and 23.9%, respectively. The LA yield, however, is comparably low as a result of the increase of the LA concentration, and the superimposed reaction conditions promote the formation of aqueous and solid byproducts.