Reductive Catalytic Depolymerization of Semi-industrial Wood-Based Lignin

Xiaojia Lu, Lucas Lagerquist, Kari Eränen, Jarl Hemming, Patrik Eklund, Lionel Estel, Sébastien Leveneur, Henrik Grénman*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

13 Citations (Scopus)


The current work studies the reductive catalytic depolymerization (RCD) of lignin from a novel semi-industrial process. The aim was to obtain aromatic mono-, di-, tri-, and tetramers for further valorization. The substrate and products were characterized by multiple analytical methods, including high pressure size-exclusion chromatography (HPSEC), gas chromatography-mass spectrometry, GC-flame ionization detector (FID), GC-FID/thermal conductivity detector (TCD), and NMR. The RCD was studied by exploring the influence of different parameters, such as lignin solubility, reaction time, hydrogen pressure, reaction temperature, pH, type and loading of the catalyst, as well as type and composition of the organic/aqueous solvent. The results show that an elevated temperature, a redox catalyst, and a hydrogen atmosphere are essential for the depolymerization and stability of the products, while the reaction medium also plays an important role. The highest obtained mono- to tetramers yield was 98% and mono- to dimers yield over 85% in the liquid phase products. The reaction mechanisms influenced the structure of the aliphatic chain in the monomers, but left the phenolic structure along with the methoxy groups largely unaltered. The current work contributes to the development and debottlenecking of the novel and sustainable overall process, which utilizes efficiently all the fractions of wood, in line with the principles of green engineering and chemistry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16827–16838
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number47
Publication statusPublished - 1 Dec 2021
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


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