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Issue 3, 2013
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Lignindepolymerization (LDP) in alcohol over nickel-based catalystsvia a fragmentation–hydrogenolysis process

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Abstract

Valorization of native birch wood lignin into monomeric phenols over nickel-based catalysts has been studied. High chemoselectivity to aromatic products was achieved by using Ni-based catalysts and common alcohols as solvents. The results show that lignin can be selectively cleaved into propylguaiacol and propylsyringol with total selectivity >90% at a lignin conversion of about 50%. Alcohols, such as methanol, ethanol and ethylene glycol, are suitable solvents for lignin conversion. Analyses with MALDI-TOF and NMR show that birch lignin is first fragmented into smaller lignin species consisting of several benzene rings with a molecular weight of m/z ca. 1100 to ca. 1600 via alcoholysis reaction. The second step involves the hydrogenolysis of the fragments into phenols. The presence of gaseous H2 has no effect on lignin conversion, indicating that alcohols provide active hydrogen species, which is further confirmed by isotopic tracing experiments. Catalysts are recycled by magnetic separation and can be reused four times without losing activity. The mechanistic insights from this work could be helpful in understanding native lignin conversion and the formation of monomeric phenolics via reductive depolymerization.

Graphical abstract: Lignin depolymerization (LDP) in alcohol over nickel-based catalysts via a fragmentation–hydrogenolysis process

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Article information


Submitted
09 Oct 2012
Accepted
02 Jan 2013
First published
03 Jan 2013

Energy Environ. Sci., 2013,6, 994-1007
Article type
Paper

Lignin depolymerization (LDP) in alcohol over nickel-based catalysts via a fragmentation–hydrogenolysis process

Q. Song, F. Wang, J. Cai, Y. Wang, J. Zhang, W. Yu and J. Xu, Energy Environ. Sci., 2013, 6, 994
DOI: 10.1039/C2EE23741E

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