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International Journal of Chemical Engineering
Volume 2014 (2014), Article ID 954632, 7 pages
Research Article

Optimization of Two-Step Acid-Catalyzed Hydrolysis of Oil Palm Empty Fruit Bunch for High Sugar Concentration in Hydrolysate

1Institute of Chemical & Engineering Sciences (ICES), Agency for Science, Technology and Research (A*STAR), 1 Pesek Road, Jurong Island, Singapore 627833
2Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering, National University of Singapore, 4 Engineering Drive 4, Singapore 117576

Received 10 December 2013; Accepted 18 May 2014; Published 11 June 2014

Academic Editor: Doraiswami Ramkrishna

Copyright © 2014 Dongxu Zhang et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Getting high sugar concentrations in lignocellulosic biomass hydrolysate with reasonable yields of sugars is commercially attractive but very challenging. Two-step acid-catalyzed hydrolysis of oil palm empty fruit bunch (EFB) was conducted to get high sugar concentrations in the hydrolysate. The biphasic kinetic model was used to guide the optimization of the first step dilute acid-catalyzed hydrolysis of EFB. A total sugar concentration of 83.0 g/L with a xylose concentration of 69.5 g/L and a xylose yield of 84.0% was experimentally achieved, which is in well agreement with the model predictions under optimal conditions (3% H2SO4 and 1.2% H3PO4, w/v, liquid to solid ratio 3 mL/g, 130°C, and 36 min). To further increase total sugar and xylose concentrations in hydrolysate, a second step hydrolysis was performed by adding fresh EFB to the hydrolysate at 130°C for 30 min, giving a total sugar concentration of 114.4 g/L with a xylose concentration of 93.5 g/L and a xylose yield of 56.5%. To the best of our knowledge, the total sugar and xylose concentrations are the highest among those ever reported for acid-catalyzed hydrolysis of lignocellulose.