skip to main content
OSTI.GOV title logo U.S. Department of Energy
Office of Scientific and Technical Information

Title: Base-Catalyzed Depolymerization of Biorefinery Lignins

Abstract

Lignocellulosic biorefineries will produce a substantial pool of lignin-enriched residues, which are currently slated to be burned for heat and power. Going forward, however, valorization strategies for residual solid lignin will be essential to the economic viability of modern biorefineries. To achieve these strategies, effective lignin depolymerization processes will be required that can convert specific lignin-enriched biorefinery substrates into products of sufficient value and market size. Base-catalyzed depolymerization (BCD) of lignin using sodium hydroxide and other basic media has been shown to be an effective depolymerization approach when using technical and isolated lignins relevant to the pulp and paper industry. Moreover, to gain insights in the application of BCD to lignin-rich, biofuels-relevant residues, here we apply BCD with sodium hydroxide at two catalyst loadings and temperatures of 270, 300, and 330 °C for 40 min to residual biomass from typical and emerging biochemical conversion processes. We obtained mass balances for each fraction from BCD, and characterized the resulting aqueous and solid residues using gel permeation chromatography, NMR, and GC–MS. When taken together, these results indicate that a significant fraction (45–78%) of the starting lignin-rich material can be depolymerized to low molecular weight, water-soluble species. The yield of the aqueous solublemore » fraction depends significantly on biomass processing method used prior to BCD. Namely, dilute acid pretreatment results in lower water-soluble yields compared to biomass processing that involves no acid pretreatment. We also find that the BCD product selectivity can be tuned with temperature to give higher yields of methoxyphenols at lower temperature, and a higher relative content of benzenediols with a greater extent of alkylation on the aromatic rings at higher temperature. Our study shows that residual, lignin-rich biomass produced from conventional and emerging biochemical conversion processes can be depolymerized with sodium hydroxide to produce significant yields of low molecular weight aromatics that potentially can be upgraded to fuels or chemicals.« less

Authors:
 [1];  [2];  [1];  [1];  [1];  [2];  [1]
  1. National Bioenergy Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado 80401, United States
  2. Biosciences Center, National Renewable Energy Laboratory, Golden, Colorado 80401, United States
Publication Date:
Research Org.:
National Renewable Energy Lab. (NREL), Golden, CO (United States)
Sponsoring Org.:
USDOE Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy (EERE), Bioenergy Technologies Office (EE-3B)
OSTI Identifier:
1236972
Alternate Identifier(s):
OSTI ID: 1241512
Report Number(s):
NREL/JA-5100-65962
Journal ID: ISSN 2168-0485
Grant/Contract Number:  
AC36-08GO28308
Resource Type:
Journal Article: Published Article
Journal Name:
ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Name: ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering Journal Volume: 4 Journal Issue: 3; Journal ID: ISSN 2168-0485
Publisher:
American Chemical Society
Country of Publication:
United States
Language:
English
Subject:
37 INORGANIC, ORGANIC, PHYSICAL, AND ANAYLYTICAL CHEMISTRY; dilute acid pretreatment; biochemical conversion program; deacetylation; Kraft lignin; lignin valorization; lignin depolymerization

Citation Formats

Katahira, Rui, Mittal, Ashutosh, McKinney, Kellene, Chen, Xiaowen, Tucker, Melvin P., Johnson, David K., and Beckham, Gregg T. Base-Catalyzed Depolymerization of Biorefinery Lignins. United States: N. p., 2015. Web. doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.5b01451.
Katahira, Rui, Mittal, Ashutosh, McKinney, Kellene, Chen, Xiaowen, Tucker, Melvin P., Johnson, David K., & Beckham, Gregg T. Base-Catalyzed Depolymerization of Biorefinery Lignins. United States. doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.5b01451.
Katahira, Rui, Mittal, Ashutosh, McKinney, Kellene, Chen, Xiaowen, Tucker, Melvin P., Johnson, David K., and Beckham, Gregg T. Thu . "Base-Catalyzed Depolymerization of Biorefinery Lignins". United States. doi:10.1021/acssuschemeng.5b01451.
@article{osti_1236972,
title = {Base-Catalyzed Depolymerization of Biorefinery Lignins},
author = {Katahira, Rui and Mittal, Ashutosh and McKinney, Kellene and Chen, Xiaowen and Tucker, Melvin P. and Johnson, David K. and Beckham, Gregg T.},
abstractNote = {Lignocellulosic biorefineries will produce a substantial pool of lignin-enriched residues, which are currently slated to be burned for heat and power. Going forward, however, valorization strategies for residual solid lignin will be essential to the economic viability of modern biorefineries. To achieve these strategies, effective lignin depolymerization processes will be required that can convert specific lignin-enriched biorefinery substrates into products of sufficient value and market size. Base-catalyzed depolymerization (BCD) of lignin using sodium hydroxide and other basic media has been shown to be an effective depolymerization approach when using technical and isolated lignins relevant to the pulp and paper industry. Moreover, to gain insights in the application of BCD to lignin-rich, biofuels-relevant residues, here we apply BCD with sodium hydroxide at two catalyst loadings and temperatures of 270, 300, and 330 °C for 40 min to residual biomass from typical and emerging biochemical conversion processes. We obtained mass balances for each fraction from BCD, and characterized the resulting aqueous and solid residues using gel permeation chromatography, NMR, and GC–MS. When taken together, these results indicate that a significant fraction (45–78%) of the starting lignin-rich material can be depolymerized to low molecular weight, water-soluble species. The yield of the aqueous soluble fraction depends significantly on biomass processing method used prior to BCD. Namely, dilute acid pretreatment results in lower water-soluble yields compared to biomass processing that involves no acid pretreatment. We also find that the BCD product selectivity can be tuned with temperature to give higher yields of methoxyphenols at lower temperature, and a higher relative content of benzenediols with a greater extent of alkylation on the aromatic rings at higher temperature. Our study shows that residual, lignin-rich biomass produced from conventional and emerging biochemical conversion processes can be depolymerized with sodium hydroxide to produce significant yields of low molecular weight aromatics that potentially can be upgraded to fuels or chemicals.},
doi = {10.1021/acssuschemeng.5b01451},
journal = {ACS Sustainable Chemistry & Engineering},
issn = {2168-0485},
number = 3,
volume = 4,
place = {United States},
year = {2015},
month = {12}
}

Journal Article:
Free Publicly Available Full Text
Publisher's Version of Record at 10.1021/acssuschemeng.5b01451

Citation Metrics:
Cited by: 22 works
Citation information provided by
Web of Science

Save / Share:

Works referencing / citing this record:

Bacterial conversion of depolymerized Kraft lignin
journal, March 2019

  • Ravi, Krithika; Abdelaziz, Omar Y.; Nöbel, Matthias
  • Biotechnology for Biofuels, Vol. 12, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1186/s13068-019-1397-8

Catalytic Scissoring of Lignin into Aryl Monomers
journal, July 2019


Theoretical Elucidation of β-O-4 Bond Cleavage of Lignin Model Compound Promoted by Sulfonic Acid-Functionalized Ionic Liquid
journal, February 2019


Catalytic Scissoring of Lignin into Aryl Monomers
journal, July 2019


Bacterial conversion of depolymerized Kraft lignin
journal, March 2019

  • Ravi, Krithika; Abdelaziz, Omar Y.; Nöbel, Matthias
  • Biotechnology for Biofuels, Vol. 12, Issue 1
  • DOI: 10.1186/s13068-019-1397-8

Theoretical Elucidation of β-O-4 Bond Cleavage of Lignin Model Compound Promoted by Sulfonic Acid-Functionalized Ionic Liquid
journal, February 2019


Cooking with Active Oxygen and Solid Alkali: A Promising Alternative Approach for Lignocellulosic Biorefineries
journal, August 2017