Jump to main content
Jump to site search
PLANNED MAINTENANCE Close the message box

Scheduled maintenance work on Wednesday 27th March 2019 from 11:00 AM to 1:00 PM (GMT).

During this time our website performance may be temporarily affected. We apologise for any inconvenience this might cause and thank you for your patience.

Volume 202, 2017
Previous Article Next Article

Effect of methanol in controlling defunctionalization of the propyl side chain of phenolics from catalytic upstream biorefining

Author affiliations


In recent years, lignin valorization has gained upward momentum owing to advances in both plant bioengineering and catalytic processing of lignin. In this new horizon, catalysis is now applied to the ‘pulping process’ itself, creating efficient methods for lignocellulose fractionation or deconstruction (here referred to as Catalytic Upstream Biorefining or ‘CUB’). These processes render, together with delignified pulps, lignin streams of low molecular weight (Mw) and low molecular diversity. Recently, we introduced a CUB process based on Early-stage Catalytic Conversion of Lignin (ECCL) through H-transfer reactions catalyzed by RANEY® Ni. This approach renders a lignin stream obtained as a viscous oil, comprising up to 60 wt% monophenolic compounds (Mw < 250 Da). The remaining oil fraction (40 wt%) is mainly composed of lignin oligomers, and as minor products, holocellulose-derived polyols and lignin-derived species of high Mw (0.25–2 kDa). Simultaneously, the process yields a holocellulose pulp with a low content of residual lignin (<5 wt%). Despite the efficiency of aqueous solutions of 2-propanol as a solvent for lignin fragments and an H-donor, there is scant information regarding the CUB process carried out in the presence of primary alcohols, which often inhibit the catalytic activity of RANEY® Ni, as revealed in model compound studies performed at low temperature. Considering the composition of the lignin oils obtained from CUB based on ECCL, the processes commonly render ortho-(di)methoxy-4-propylphenol derivatives with a varied degree of defunctionalization of the propyl side chain. In this contribution, we present the role of the alcohol solvent (methanol or 2-propanol) and Ni catalyst (Ni/C or RANEY® Ni) in control over selectivity of phenolic products. The current results indicate that solvent effects on the catalytic processes could hold the key for improving control over the degree of functionalization of the propyl side-chain in the lignin oil obtained from CUB, offering new avenues for lignin valorization at the extraction step.

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 16 Feb 2017, accepted on 19 Apr 2017 and first published on 19 Apr 2017

Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C7FD00069C
Citation: Faraday Discuss., 2017,202, 403-413

  •   Request permissions

    Effect of methanol in controlling defunctionalization of the propyl side chain of phenolics from catalytic upstream biorefining

    P. Ferrini, C. Chesi, N. Parkin and R. Rinaldi, Faraday Discuss., 2017, 202, 403
    DOI: 10.1039/C7FD00069C

Search articles by author