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Thread: Degradation of cellulose

  1. #1 Degradation of cellulose 
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    Hello all,

    I was wondering if it was possible to degrade cellulose into simple sugars without HCl, H2So4, or enzymes such as cellulase? I don't care if the process is energy efficient or viable on a large scale. A few Google searches yielded only information regarding the commercial production of ethanol, and only covered the most cost effective approaches.


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    Quote Originally Posted by x5920 View Post
    Hello all,

    I was wondering if it was possible to degrade cellulose into simple sugars without HCl, H2So4, or enzymes such as cellulase? I don't care if the process is energy efficient or viable on a large scale. A few Google searches yielded only information regarding the commercial production of ethanol, and only covered the most cost effective approaches.

    Have you thought about dissolving it in an ionic solvent and then heating it?


    "The only safe rule is to dispute only with those of your acquaintance of whom you know that they possess sufficient intelligence and self-respect not to advance absurdities; to appeal to reason and not to authority, and to listen to reason and yield to it; and, finally, to be willing to accept reason even from an opponent, and to be just enough to bear being proved to be in the wrong."

    ~ Arthur Schopenhauer, The Art of Being Right: 38 Ways to Win an Argument (1831), Stratagem XXXVIII.
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    I'm not sure I would be able to get my hands on an ionic solvent.
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    Quote Originally Posted by x5920 View Post
    Hello all,

    I was wondering if it was possible to degrade cellulose into simple sugars without HCl, H2So4, or enzymes such as cellulase? I don't care if the process is energy efficient or viable on a large scale. A few Google searches yielded only information regarding the commercial production of ethanol, and only covered the most cost effective approaches.
    Well it's a hydrolysis reaction, isn't it? So water will need to feature in the reaction scheme somewhere. But by searching "cellulose hydrolysis" I came across this:Hydrolysis of Cellulose by Amorphous Carbon Bearing SO3H, COOH, and OH Groups - Journal of the American Chemical Society (ACS Publications)

    I don't know whether this is the sort of thing you are looking for.
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