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BER Research Highlights


Hydrogenolysis Offers an Improved Method to Break Down Lignin
Published: April 25, 2019
Posted: August 03, 2021

Objective

Explore lignin hydrogenolysis in a continuous-flow reactor as a method to improve depolymerization.

Approach

  • Evaluated the kinetics and reaction mechanisms of lignin hydrogenolysis in a continuous-flow reactor.
  • Optimized reaction parameters to increase monomer yield and suppress formation of unwanted byproducts.
  • Assessed hydrogenolysis of lignin isolated from poplar.

Results/Impacts

  • Lignin hydrogenolysis in the continuous-flow reactor produced lignin-derived monomer yields around 29%, close to the calculated theoretical maximum for lignin from pretreated biomass.
  • Unreacted lignin retained its native structure, allowing material to be recycled through the reactor to minimize carbon loss into unusable compounds.
  • Combining a continuous-flow reactor with biomass treatment processes could enhance the yield and value of product streams from a biorefinery.

Li, Y. et al. “Kinetic and mechanistic insights into hydrogenolysis of lignin to monomers in a continuous flow reactor.” Green Chemistry 21(13), 3561–3572 (2019). [DOI:10.1039/c9gc00986h]

Topic Areas:

  • Research Area: Genomic Analysis and Systems Biology
  • Research Area: Plant Systems and Feedstocks, Plant-Microbe Interactions
  • Research Area: Sustainable Biofuels and Bioproducts
  • Research Area: DOE Bioenergy Research Centers (BRC)

Division: SC-33.2 Biological Systems Science Division, BER

 

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