In this study, a combination of catalytic and biotechnological processes was proposed for the first time for application in a cellulose biorefinery for the production of 5-hydroxymethylfurfural (5-HMF) and bioethanol. Hydrolytic dehydration of the mechanically activated microcrystalline cellulose over a carbon-based mesoporous Sibunt-4 catalyst resulted in moderate yields of glucose and 5-HMF (21.1–25.1 and 6.6–9.4 %). 5-HMF was extracted from the resulting mixture with isobutanol and subjected to ethanol fermentation. A number of yeast strains were isolated that also revealed high thermotolerance (up to 50 °C) and resistance to inhibitors found in the hydrolysates. The strains Kluyveromyces marxianus C1 and Ogataea polymorpha CBS4732 were capable of producing ethanol from processed catalytic hydrolysates of cellulose at 42 °C, with yields of 72.0±5.7 and 75.2±4.3 % from the maximum theoretical yield of ethanol, respectively.