Lignin Utilization

Research output: NRELPresentation


Valorization of lignin has massive potential economic and sustainability benefits for the lignocellulosic biorefinery. However, challenges remain to realize lignin conversion to coproducts, especially related to selective, high yield depolymerization to monomers and quantitative analytics on lignin, the latter of which is critical for accurate process modeling. Towards these goals, the Lignin Utilization project focuses on catalytic lignin deconstruction chemistries for C-O and C-C bond cleavage, development of analytical chemistry techniques to quantitatively characterize lignin, and syntheses of requisite model compounds for understanding lignin transformations. This work is done with and supports multiple BETO projects, including the Biological Lignin Valorization (BLV) project, the Separations Consortium, and others. Outcomes of Lignin Utilization for analytics and synthesis include 1) development of new mass spectrometry (MS) methods to characterize lignin dimers/oligomers in process streams, 2) deployment of a computational-experimental tool (with Biochemical Process Modeling and Simulation) to identify lignin-derived compounds with high fidelity from MS, and 3) delivery of >40 unique compounds. From a catalysis perspective, we have developed new oxidative approaches to cleave C-O and C-C bonds and produce >50% bio-available aromatic monomers for biological funneling for the BLV project and have developed recoverable bases for base-catalyzed deconstruction of lignin.
Original languageAmerican English
Number of pages26
StatePublished - 2021

Publication series

NamePresented at the U.S. Department of Energy's Bioenergy Technologies Office (BETO) 2021 Project Peer Review, 8-12, 15-16, and 22-26 March 2021

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/PR-2A00-79483


  • biorefinery
  • lignin
  • lignocellulosic
  • valorization


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