Sustainable Conversion of Food Waste and Agricultural Residues to Gamma-valerolactone and Ammonium Sulfate

Project: Research

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A sustainable process will be developed for the conversion of food wastes and agricultural residues to platform chemicals, some of which could be used as biofuels to power passenger cars or as feedstocks for the production of carbon-based consumer products. The carbohydrates in food waste and agricultural residues will be treated with sulfuric acid at high temperatures to produce levulinic acid, which will be converted to gamma-valerolactone with heterogeneous ruthenium catalysts. The neutralization of the sulfuric acid with ammonia will result in ammonium sulfate, which could be used as a nitrogen fertilizer. The gamma-valerolactone will be separated from the reaction mixture and used as a biofuel or a feedstock to produce other platform chemicals and biofuels including alkyl valerates. The performance of gamma-valerolactone, alkyl valerates, ethanol, and their mixtures will be compared to conventional 90-, 93- or 95-octane gasoline by using an experimental platform including a Toyota Prius hybrid car. Effective sensing system and novel signal processing method will be used to monitor the engine operating condition, perform fault diagnosis, and to establish the relationships between performance parameters with molecular structures and compositions of the components.


Project number9440107
Grant typeITF
Effective start/end date1/11/1330/04/15