Oxidative Catalytic Fractionation and Depolymerization of Lignin in a One-Pot Single-Catalyst System

Xu Du, Andrew Tricker, Weisheng Yang, Rui Katahira, Wei Liu, Thomas Kwok, Parikshit Gogoi, Yulin Deng

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35 Scopus Citations


It has been known that the yield of lignin monomers during lignin depolymerization is limited by the irreversible condensations of lignin in the fractionation and/or depolymerization process. In this study, we report a new oxidative catalytic fractionation (OCF) process with a simple and effective one-pot but two-step approach to depolymerize lignin to lignin-derived chemicals (LDCs) using polyoxometalate (POM) as the only catalyst. First, the POM effectively catalyzed the methoxylation of the active α-OH groups of lignin in a methanol and water mixture at low temperature (100 °C), and 96% of the stabilized lignin in the lignocellulose sawdust was extracted to the solution simultaneously. Then the lignin solution was heated to an elevated temperature (140 °C) in the same solvent. As a result, 74.0 wt % of the lignin (based on the weight of the Klason lignin in the wood) was converted to LDCs, including 45.9 wt % aromatic monomers.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)7719-7727
Number of pages9
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number23
StatePublished - 14 Jun 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 American Chemical Society.

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2800-79079


  • Lignin depolymerization
  • Lignin-first
  • Oxidative catalytic fractionation
  • Polyoxometalate
  • Sustainable chemistry


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