Progress and Roadmap for Electro-Privileged Transformations of Bio-Derived Molecules

Cong Tian, Roham Dorakhan, Joshua Wicks, Zhu Chen, Kyoung-Shin Choi, Nirala Singh, Joshua Schaidle, Adam Holewinski, Aleksandra Vojvodic, Dionisios Vlachos, Linda Broadbelt, Edward Sargent

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Biomass incorporates carbon captured from the atmosphere and can serve as a renewable feedstock for producing valuable chemicals and fuels. Here we look at how electrochemical approaches can impact biomass valorization, focusing on identifying chemical transformations that leverage renewable electricity and feedstocks to produce valorized products via electro-privileged transformations. First, we recommend that the field should explore widening the spectrum of platform chemicals derived from bio-feedstocks, thus offering pathways to molecules that have historically been derived from petroleum. Second, we identify opportunities in electrocatalytic production of energy-dense fuels from biomass that utilize water as the hydrogen source and renewable electricity as the driving force. Finally, we look at the potential in electrochemical depolymerization to preserve key functional groups in raw feedstocks that would otherwise be lost during harsh pre-treatments in traditional depolymerization routes. On the basis of these priorities, we suggest a roadmap for the integration of biomass and electrochemistry and offer milestones required to tap further into the potential of electrochemical biomass valorization.
Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)350-360
Number of pages11
JournalNature Catalysis
StatePublished - 2024

NREL Publication Number

  • NREL/JA-2A00-89812


  • bio-feedstocks
  • electrochemical biomass valorization
  • electrochemical depolymerization


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