- Lignin Utilization

Research output: NRELPresentation


Lignin depolymerization to aromatic monomers is a primary route for myriad lignin valorization strategies. To date, there are many strategies able to cleave aryl-ether linkages in lignin, but the lignin polymer, in both its native and processed forms, contains a substantial fraction of refractory carbon-carbon linkages between aromatic units, which typically limits aromatic monomer yields to -30-40 wt% or lower, depending on the feedstock. To that end, the Lignin Utilization (LigU) project addresses the critical challenge of lignin depolymerization catalysis with emphasis on C-C bond cleavage. Being able to achieve cost-effective C-C bond catalysis in lignin depolymerization would enable a substantial increase in accessible aromatic monomer yields from lignin. Among the catalysis strategies that have been investigated in the LigU project, we have made substantial progress in the use of autoxidation catalysis, inspired by the industrial conversion of p-xylene to terephthalic acid, for C-C bond cleavage in lignin. Using multiple substrates, we have demonstrated that autoxidation catalysis can produce mixtures of bio-available aromatic monomers for conversion to exemplary bioproducts, such as cis,cis-muconic acid, in collaboration with the Biological Lignin Valorization project. Prior to FY23, the LigU project also included lignin analytical chemistry method development, lignin analytics for BETO-funded projects, and model compound syntheses, which will also be presented.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages33
StatePublished - 2023

Publication series

NamePresented at the 2023 U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) Project Peer Review, 3-7 April 2023, Denver, Colorado

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2A00-85659


  • deconstruction
  • lignin
  • lignin utilization


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