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The chapters in this book discuss the unique work concerning the role of ionic liquids in the biorefinery concept. Judging by the extraordinary interest in this field and its rapid forward movement with high-quality works, it can be surely stated that ionic liquids have found their place in the biorefinery concept.

The unique and especially easily tuneable properties of ionic liquids make them ideal candidates for reaction media for biomass dissolution, pre-treatment, bio- and chemo- conversion as well as solvents for downstream processing. It is also very important that ionic liquids are no longer expensive solvents; it is especially important that recycling and reuse of ionic liquids is no longer a challenge. Because of this, ionic liquids may contribute to make the green biorefinery concept more economically sustainable and environmentally benign and especially more realistic. As such, ionic liquids can be used in the production of not only specific, high-value niche products but they can also compete in the more sustainable production of bulk commodities.

Nonetheless there is still a strong requirement to develop more and more green and sustainable processes using ionic liquids in the context of the biorefinery concept, and the chapters of this book draw the guidelines to achieve this. This book shows both the state-of-the-art and the future for ionic liquids and biorefineries. Furthermore, it also depicts the most important aspects of the use of ionic liquids, starting from biomass dissolution, pre-treatment and fractionation and moving towards the main fractions of biomass. The specific chapters tackle aspects of direct extraction of diverse value-added compounds from biomass, the separation and purification of bioproducts and biomolecules with ionic liquids, the integrated pre-treatment and hydrolysis of biomass catalysed by ionic liquids, as well as biomass conversion to pivot chemicals. Looking at the toxicity and bioacceptability of ionic liquids in the context of the biological processes also shows how important findings in this field are helping to answer questions about the greenness of a biorefinery that uses ionic liquids. The content of the chapters in this book portrays the challenges and achievements in the field of green biorefinery concept.

I hope that this book will achieve my aim of communicating the excitement, breadth and depth of the application of ionic liquids to an audience from both academia and industry.

This book is made possible only by the invaluable contributions of all the authors of the chapters. I also wish to thank Fundação para a Ciência e a Tecnologia (Portugal) and Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior (Brazil) for their financial support.

Rafal Bogel-Lukasik

National Laboratory of Energy and

Geology, Lisbon, Portugal

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