Methanolysis fractionation and catalytic conversion of poplar wood toward methyl levulinate, phenolics, and glucose
In the present study, methanolysis of poplar biomass was conducted for the selective transformation of hemicellulose and lignin, which leads to methyl glycosides (mainly C5 glycosides) and lignin fragments in the liqueﬁed products that can be separated according to their diﬀerence in hydrophilicity. The distribution of methyl glycosides and deligniﬁcation was dependent on the presence of acid catalysts and reaction temperatures. The obtained lignin fraction was separated into solid lignin fragments and liquid lignin oil according to their molecular weight distribution. Subsequently, directional conversion of methyl C5 glycosides into methyl levulinate was performed with dimethoxymethane/methanol as the cosolvent. A yield of 12− 30% of methyl levulinate yield (based on the methyl glycoside) was achieved under these conditions. The remaining celluloserich substrate showed enhanced susceptibility to enzymatic hydrolysis, resulting in a yield of glucose of above 70%. Overall, the described strategy shows practical implications for the eﬀective valorization of biomass.