Microwave-assisted synthesis of bifunctional magnetic solid acid for hydrolyzing cellulose to prepare nanocellulose

Yunfeng Zhao, Hanwu Lei, Yuhuan Liu, Roger Ruan, Moriko Qian, Erguang Huo, Qingfa Zhang, Zhiyang Huang, Xiaona Lin, Chenxi Wang, Wendy Mateo, Elmar M. Villota

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16 Scopus citations


The conventional studies on the preparation of nanocellulose used a high concentration of sulfuric acid that is difficult to remove and recover. A biochar-based solid acid with magnetic properties was developed to hydrolyze cellulose to prepare nanocellulose in this work. Two different methods were selected to investigate the properties of the synthesized magnetic carbon-based solid acids. The synthesized catalysts were characterized by SEM, TEM, XRD, NH3-TPD and FT-IR. The experimental results showed that two solid acids by the microwave-assisted synthesis had good magnetic properties by a magnet adsorption. Analysis by SEM and TEM showed that the two solid acids had rich pore structures. According to mineral element analysis, both solid acids contained high sulfur content. The solid acid was an amorphous carbon structural material with a surface rich in active groups. The catalytic activity of the biochar-based solid acids in cellulose hydrolysis to prepare nano-scale cellulosic material was evaluated. It was found that magnetic biochar-based solid acid (MBC-SA1) could achieve a high yield, which produced up to 57.68% for hydrolyzing cellulose into nanometers.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number138751
JournalScience of the Total Environment
StatePublished - Aug 20 2020

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was supported by the Agriculture and Food Research Initiative Competitive Grant no. 2016-67021-24533 and 2018-67009-27904 from the National Institute of Food and Agriculture, United States Department of Agriculture .

Publisher Copyright:
© 2020 Elsevier B.V.


  • Biochar-based solid acid
  • Cellulose
  • Hydrolysis
  • Magnetic
  • Nano-scale cellulosic


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