Jump to main content
Jump to site search

Issue 11, 2015
Previous Article Next Article

Ethanol as capping agent and formaldehyde scavenger for efficient depolymerization of lignin to aromatics

Author affiliations

Abstract

Obtaining renewable fuels and chemicals from lignin presents an important challenge to the use of lignocellulosic biomass to meet sustainability and energy goals. We report on a thermocatalytic process for the depolymerization of lignin in supercritical ethanol over a CuMgAlOx catalyst. Ethanol as solvent results in much higher monomer yields than methanol. In contrast to methanol, ethanol acts as a scavenger of formaldehyde derived from lignin decomposition. Studies with phenol and alkylated phenols evidence the critical role of the phenolic –OH groups and formaldehyde in undesired repolymerization reactions. O-alkylation and C-alkylation capping reactions with ethanol hinder repolymerization of the phenolic monomers formed during lignin disassembly. After reaction in ethanol at 380 °C for 8 h, this process delivers high yields of mainly alkylated mono-aromatics (60–86 wt%, depending on the lignin used) with a significant degree of deoxygenation. The oxygen-free aromatics can be used to replace reformate or can serve as base aromatic chemicals; the oxygenated aromatics can be used as low-sooting diesel fuel additives and as building blocks for polymers.

Graphical abstract: Ethanol as capping agent and formaldehyde scavenger for efficient depolymerization of lignin to aromatics

Back to tab navigation

Supplementary files

Publication details

The article was received on 25 May 2015, accepted on 22 Jun 2015 and first published on 23 Jun 2015


Article type: Paper
DOI: 10.1039/C5GC01120E
Green Chem., 2015,17, 4941-4950
  • Open access: Creative Commons BY license
  •   Request permissions

    Ethanol as capping agent and formaldehyde scavenger for efficient depolymerization of lignin to aromatics

    X. Huang, T. I. Korányi, M. D. Boot and E. J. M. Hensen, Green Chem., 2015, 17, 4941
    DOI: 10.1039/C5GC01120E

    This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported Licence. Material from this article can be used in other publications provided that the correct acknowledgement is given with the reproduced material.

    Reproduced material should be attributed as follows:

    • For reproduction of material from NJC:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique (CNRS) and the RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from PCCP:
      [Original citation] - Published by the PCCP Owner Societies.
    • For reproduction of material from PPS:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry (RSC) on behalf of the European Society for Photobiology, the European Photochemistry Association, and RSC.
    • For reproduction of material from all other RSC journals:
      [Original citation] - Published by The Royal Society of Chemistry.

    Information about reproducing material from RSC articles with different licences is available on our Permission Requests page.

Search articles by author

Spotlight

Advertisements