Simulation and Economic Analysis of 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural Conversion to 2,5-Furandicarboxylic Acid

Christoph Triebl

Research output: ThesisMaster's Thesis

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Due to rising oil price and environmental aspects, research on alternatives for petroleum based chemicals and fuels is growing in recent years. Biomass is one potential raw material for producing non-petroleum derived chemicals and fuels. Different catalysts and reaction steps are required to generate the same products in comparison with the petroleum based processes. One possible starting material for biobased chemicals is 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), which is derived from monosaccharides, such as glucose and fructose. HMF could be converted into different chemicals and fuels, such as 2,5-furandicarboxylic acid (FDCA), which is generated by catalytic oxidation of HMF. According to a report of the Department of Energy (DOE) in 2004, HMF and FDCA are one of the 12 biobased building blocks of the future. Simulations on the processes for producing and purifying FDCA from HMF were performed. A tubular reactor was used to generate FDCA from HMF in aqueous solvent using air as oxidant. For purification, two different processes were designed. In the first process, FDCA is solidified at a crystallizer and fed to a filter or a hydrocyclone. The purity of FDCA in the product stream in the processes using the hydrocyclone and the filter are 3 wt% and 98 wt%, respectively. The second process produces liquid FDCA at a purity of 97 wt%. Due to the high boiling point of FDCA, separation from the aqueous acetic acid solvent is impossible. For this purpose FDCA is extracted by the solvent trioctylamine and removed using distillation. Acetic acid and trioctylamine are separated in a second distillation column, at which a partial condenser is used to minimize cooling cost. At all processes, economy analysis was carried out to estimate minimum sale price of FDCA. In the processes with the hydrocyclone and the filter, FDCA price is estimated to be 4435 $/t and 3157 $/t, respectively. Estimated minimum sale price of FDCA in the process with the distillation columns is 3885 $/t. Sensitivity analysis shows that selectivity of FDCA and conversion of HMF have small impact on FDCA price due to recycling of HMF and the intermediates, whereas plant capacity, catalyst cost and HMF cost have more profound effect on the price of FDCA.
Translated title of the contributionSimulation und Wirtschaftlichkeitsanalyse der Umwandlung von 5-Hydroxymethylfurfural zu 2,5-Furandicarboxylsäure
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • Montanuniversität
  • Raupenstrauch, Harald, Supervisor (internal)
Award date14 Dec 2012
Publication statusPublished - 2012

Bibliographical note

embargoed until null


  • FDCA
  • HMF
  • biorefinery
  • biomass
  • economy analysis
  • process simulation

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