By Pulp and Paper Canada
May 20, 2015 - The Finnish research institute VTT has demonstrated that lignocellulosic biomass can be successfully converted into industrial biochemicals, in this case, pure BTX chemicals (benzene, toluene and xylene). The aim of this research, reports VTT, is to enable the use of wood-based chemicals to replace crude oil in, for example, plastics, fuels, medicine and paints.
Demand has grown rapidly for chemicals generated from renewable sources, and particularly sought-after chemicals include pure aromatics, such as the BTX chemicals benzene, toluene and xylene, according to VTT.
VTT has developed a method of manufacturing BTX chemicals by combining the gasification of lignocellulosic biomass, the Fischer-Tropsch synthesis and aromatisation. Over 85 per cent of the separated benzene exceeded 90% purity and around 50% of the separated toluene was over 70 per cent purity, the institute reports.