From Petroleum to Biobased Crude: A Thermoplastic Polyurethane from Lignin-Oil Without Isocyanates

James Sternberg, Srikanth Pilla, David Brandner, Reagan Dreiling, Arik Ringsby, Jacob Kruger, Gregg Beckham

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaperpeer-review

1 Scopus Citations


The movement to transfer from petroleum-based products and materials to renewables does not necessarily have to bypass the use of oil. A new type of “black-gold” is readily abundant from the earth's most abundant source of aromatic carbon: lignin. While fractionation of petroleum yields fuels and chemicals for a diverse set of industries, lignin fractionation using targeted catalysts has demonstrated the ability to generate monomers and oligomers rich in functional groups for polymer synthesis. This study explores the use of lignin-oil, generated from reductive catalytic fractionation of popular wood, to a hydroxyl-rich mixture of aromatics that is used to synthesize a thermoplastic non-isocyanate polyurethane. The lignin-oil is first converted to a cyclocarbonated derivative using a benign synthetic sequence and further polymerized with a diamine to yield the non-isocyanate TPU. While more work is underway to optimize the reaction conditions and meet typical mechanical properties of commercial materials, initial analysis shows thermoplastic behavior and flexible properties consistent with traditional thermoplastic polyurethanes.

Original languageAmerican English
StatePublished - 2022
EventSPE ANTEC 2022 Conference - Charlotte, United States
Duration: 14 Jun 202216 Jun 2022


ConferenceSPE ANTEC 2022 Conference
Country/TerritoryUnited States

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Society of Plastics Engineers. All rights reserved.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/CP-2800-85358


  • flexible properties
  • lignin-oil
  • thermoplastic behavior
  • thermoplastic polyurethanes
  • wood


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