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Process yielding high value fuel additives (octane enhancers) from lignin

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Background: Fuel additives like octance enhancers have been traditionally derived from non-renewable petroleum products. Renewable sources are being explored as a source for producing fuel additives. A number of single step processes for depolymerization of lignin have been explored to date only with limited success. Existing two-step processes occur under harsher conditions (max reaction temperature can reach 420 - 900 ̊ C). Technology Description: NCL scientists have developed an efficient 2 step process for depolymerization of lignin to substituted phenolic monomer compounds which could be further processed for use as high value fuels/additives. The process operates under milder reaction conditions (temperature range of 215- 250 ̊C). The reaction time is of 5 mins to 2 hrs. Product yield is ~25%. Market Potential: 1) US market for specialty fuel additives including octane enhancers has been predicted to grow 2.2 percent annually to reach $1.2 billion in 2012. 2) Ethanol is a commonly used octane enhancer- its demand grew from about 1.2 billion gallons in 1997 to almost 5 billion gallons in 2006. Value/Applications: End products of the reaction can be used to produce high value fuel additives like octane enhancers Technology Status: -Demonstrated at the lab scale -On the lookout for potential partners for spin-off and licensing Patents filed: IN# 2889DEL2010

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