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Lignin-to-Liquid-Solvolysis (LtL) of Organosolv Extracted Lignin

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journal contribution
posted on 08.01.2018, 00:00 by Camilla Løhre, Gro-Anita Aakre Laugerud, Wouter J. J. Huijgen, Tanja Barth
Utilization of lignocellulosic biomass as a future energy source is a research field of widespread growth. The lignin fraction has potential as a renewable resource to provide building blocks for the chemical industry and is the most prominent source of bio-based aromatics. Lignin, combined with formic acid and water under high temperature and pressure, is converted to a bio-oil rich in alkylated phenols and aliphatic hydrocarbons in a unique conversion process termed the LtL-process (lignin-to-liquid). In this work, this conversion technique has shown to be applicable to a variety of lignins, with organosolv extracted lignin as the main focus because of its high purity. The organosolv lignins appeared to be well suited for LtL-conversion generating higher yields of bio-oil than a lignin-rich residue from enzymatic hydrolysis. 31P NMR and GC-MS showed that the O/C ratios of the bio-oils decreases with increasing reaction temperature during LtL-solvolysis because of a decrease in methoxylated phenols and an increase in phenols with no methoxy substituent. This was verified by partial least-squares (PLS) regression analysis and elemental analysis of the feedstocks and resulting bio-oils, from which an effective hydrodeoxygenation during LtL-conversion was evident too.