A kinetic model of the homogeneous conversion of d-xylose in high temperature water (HTW) was developed. Experimental testing evaluated the effects of operating conditions on xylose conversion and furfural selectivity, with furfural yields of up to 60% observed without the use of acid catalysts. The reaction order for the decomposition of d-xylose was assumed to be above two, while the conversion of d-xylose to furfural and the degradation of furfural were first order reactions. Estimated kinetic parameters were within the range of values reported in the literature. The activation energy of furfural production showed that the ionization rate was high enough for HTW to replace acid catalysts. Simulated results from this model were in good agreement with experimental data, allowing the model to aid reactor design for the maximization of productivity.
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