Retaining Aromatic Content During Lignin Extraction and Conversion


Due to recent factors such as climate concerns growing energy demand and energy security a push to replace petroleum-derived materials as fuels with renewable resources is being made. Many processes have been developed to convert biomass into fuels or other synthetic building blocks. Lignin a major component of plant biomass is a main target because it accounts for 40 percent of the energy content of biomass and it is the only biorenewable source of aromatics. Methods to break down lignin into useful components without destroying the high-energy value of its aromatic content could provide an alternative source of materials that have traditionally been obtained exclusively from petroleum. Purdue University researchers have developed a process for the extraction and hydrodeoxygenation of lignin components from intact biomass. This process utilizes a catalyst to break down lignin into useful products which accounts for a significant mass of the lignin and retains the high-energy value of the aromatic content. Leftover cellulosic components from this process are available for further use in making ethanol and other biofuels. Compared to other lignin extraction processes that produce a complex mixture of products and require multiple separation steps this process uses a single step to produce only two products that can be easily separated from the catalyst and cellulosic residues. These improvements make potential future scale-up and recycling feasible. Applications: Biofuels


1) Accounts for a significant mass of lignin 2) Produces only two products 3) Feasible for future scale-up and recycling

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