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International Journal of Chemical Engineering
Volume 2012, Article ID 674761, 10 pages
Review Article

The Challenge of Efficient Synthesis of Biofuels from Lignocellulose for Future Renewable Transportation Fuels

1Laboratory of Industrial Chemistry and Reaction Engineering, Process Chemistry Centre, Åbo Akademi University, 20500 Åbo-Turku, Finland
2Technical Chemistry, Department of Chemistry, Chemical-Biological Center, Umeå University, 901 87 Umeå, Sweden

Received 22 June 2011; Revised 21 September 2011; Accepted 6 October 2011

Academic Editor: David Kubička

Copyright © 2012 Päivi Mäki-Arvela 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.


Dehydration of sugars to 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF) has recently been under intensive study by a multitude of research groups. On the other hand, when lignocellulosic biomass is applied as the starting material, very few studies can be found in the open literature. The direct synthesis of HMF, in line with the idea of “one-pot” synthesis strategy from lignocellulose, is demanding since the overall process should encompass dissolution, hydrolysis, and dehydration steps in a single processing unit. Ionic liquid-assisted methods to produce hydroxymethyl-furfural directly from lignocellulosic biomass are reported here together with a short overview of the most important biofuels. In reality, HMF is not suitable to be used as a single-component fuel as such, and, consequently, methods to produce HMF derivatives suitable as liquid fuels are reported.