Partial dissolution of ACQ-treated wood in lithium chloride/N-methyl-2-pyrrolidinone: Separation of copper from potential lignocellulosic feedstocks
A cellulose solvent system based on lithium chloride (LiCl) in N-methyl-2-pyrrolidinone (NMP) was used to assess the merits of partial dissolutions of coarsely ground wood samples. Alkaline Copper Quaternary (ACQ)-treated pine wood was of particular interest for treatment given the potential to generate a copper- rich stream apart from solid and/or liquid lignocellulosic feedstocks. Treatment with NMP alone gave yields of soluble materials that were higher than typical extractives contents thereby suggesting a limited degree of wood dissolution. Inclusion of LiCl, which disrupts hydrogen bonding, gave lower wood residue recoveries (i.e., higher dissolution) with higher LiCl concentration. Lower wood residue recoveries coincided with lower Klason lignin and hemicellulose-derived sugar contents in the wood residues. After treatment with 8% LiCl in NMP, subsequent filtration afforded 34% of the ACQ-treated sapwood as a wood residue retaining only 2% of the original copper. Pouring the filtrate over an excess of water resulted in the recovery of 30% of the solids and 50% of the copper together as a copper-enriched lignocellulosic precipitate. Results demonstrate a solvent system showing potential as a means to separate heavy metals from preservative-treated wood and to recover lignocellulosic feedstocks that may be suitable for use in a biorefinery.