Conversion of Furfural to 1,5-Pentanediol: Process Synthesis and Analysis

Kefeng Huang, Zachary J. Brentzel, Kevin J. Barnett, James A. Dumesic, George W. Huber, Christos T. Maravelias

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

112 Scopus citations


A new process for the production of 1,5-pentanediol (1,5-PDO) from biomass-derived furfural is studied. In this process, furfural is converted to 1,5-PDO in a high overall yield (80%) over inexpensive catalysts via multiple steps involving hydrogenation, dehydration, hydration, and hydrogenation subsequently. To effectively recycle H2 as well as recover 1,5-PDO, detailed separation subsystems have been designed and integrated with reaction subsystems. Furthermore, a pioneer plant analysis is performed to estimate the risk on the cost growth and plant performance shortfalls. The integrated process leads to a minimum selling price of $1973 ton-1 for 1,5-PDO, which suggests that it could be a promising approach for converting biomass into oxygenated commodity chemicals, which are difficult to produce from petroleum-derived feedstocks. The sensitivity analysis also identifies that the most important economic parameters for the process include the furfural feedstock price and plant size.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4699-4706
Number of pages8
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 5 2017
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General Chemistry
  • Environmental Chemistry
  • General Chemical Engineering
  • Renewable Energy, Sustainability and the Environment


  • 1,5-Pentanediol
  • Biorefinery
  • Catalytic conversion
  • Furfural
  • Pioneer plant analysis
  • Process design
  • Technoeconomic analysis


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