Four primary factors in controlling effectiveness of organosolvent pretreatment in lignin removal (%), cellulose retained (%), as well as hydrolysis (%) was done through a central composite design (CCD) coupled with response surface methodology (RSM). Statistically analysis predicted 54.49% of lignin removal, 86.40% of cellulose retained, and 90.67% of hydrolysis yield under numerically optimized process conditions (182.84 C, 0.61% solvent ratio, 0.69%w/w catalysts concentration, and 92.17 min reaction time). Almost reproducible results were successfully gained, suggesting feasible of design of experiment (DoE) in optimizing pressed pericarp fiber (PPF) pretreatment with nitric acid-catalyzed ethanol solvent. Both the untreated and treated PPF were characterized by using scanning electron microscopy (SEM), X-ray diffraction (XRD), and Fourier transformed infrared spectroscopy (FTIR). It was found that the treated PPF showed a distorted surface structure (SEM), amorphous and cellulose II pattern (XRD) and bonds shrinkage for several functional groups of lignin and hemicellulose while bands expanded for functional groups of cellulose (FTIR). © 2013 American Institute of Chemical Engineers Environ Prog, 33: 238–249, 2014
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