Targeted chemical upgrading of lignocellulosic biomass to platform molecules
This review presents an overview of the initial targeted chemical processing stages for conversion of lignocellulosic biomass to platform molecules that serve as intermediates for the production of carbon-based fuels and chemicals. We identify four classes of platform molecules that can be obtained in an initial chemical processing step: (i) sugars, (ii) dehydration products, (iii) polyols and (iv) lignin monomers. Special emphasis is placed on reporting and comparing parameters that affect process economics and/or sustainability, including product yields, amount of catalyst used, processing conditions, and product concentrations. We discuss the economic trade-offs associated with choices related to these parameters, depending on the product that is targeted. We also address the effects of real biomass on the ability to recover, recycle, and potentially regenerate catalysts and solvents used in the biomass conversion processes.