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Para-Xylene Derived from Biorenewable Feedstock

Weber, Rachael
Para-xylene is an organic chemical which has been historically produced in the petroleum industry. It has several uses in the chemical industry, but is most prominently used as a feedstock to make terephthalic acid, purified terephthalic acid, or dimethyl-terephthalate-saturated polyester fibers. These compounds are widely used to make plastics. Although the non-renewable resources used to produce para-xylene are not projected to be completely depleted anytime soon, it is assumed that they will run out one day. Thus, methods to produce this chemical from bio-renewable resources should be explored to prolong the production from non-renewable resources, and to have solely renewable production in the future. The purpose of this project is to investigate the production of para-xylene from D-fructose. This process is done in three steps: converting D-fructose to hydroxymethylfurfural (HMF), HMF to 2,5-dimethylfuran (DMF), and DMF to para-xylene. This project was developed using Aspen Plus Version 8.4 and an economic analysis was performed to determine the market feasibility of this project.
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