Valorization of Lignin
Lignin is the second most abundant polymer in the Earth, after Cellulose, contributing up to 30 wt.-% of the lignocellulosic biomass. The 3D Lignin structure is mainly consists of three main building blocks namely (4-coumaryl alcohol, coniferyl alcohol, sinapyl alcohol) connected different bonds such as ether bond (β-O-4, 4-O-5, etc…) or C-C bond (β-β, 5-5 etc..). In addition, Lignin present a high Carbon and oxygen content as well as high aromaticity. Therefore, Lignin represent the most abundant and renewable source of aromatics valuable chemicals. Generally, lignin is produced as waste from pulp industry as a Kraft lignin (kraft pulping) or Lignosulfunate (sulfite pulping).
Our research group works on the development of Lignin-first biorefinery via catalytic reductive and oxidative fractionation of lignin in continuous flow fashion. Furthermore, we focus on the continuous-flow catalytic upgrading of Lignin-derived compounds such as vanillin, guiacol and homovanillic acid towards bio-based chemicals.