Catalytic Study On Lignin Degradation and Conversion Into Biofuels

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Catalytic study on lignin degradation and conversion into biofuels

Wei Mu and Yulin Deng

School of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering and IPST at GT, Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta, Georgia 30332-0620

Author for correspondence (e-mail: yulin.deng@chbe.gatech.edu)

As an ideal substitute for the petrol, biomass draws lots of attention recently. However, most studies focus on the cellulose and hemicelluloses. In most cases, lignin is directly burned as a low value fuel, or converted to gas by pyrolysis. The basic units of lignin has 9 carbons, which is somewhere between gasoline and diesel.

In our study, we focus on catalysis conversion of lignin at relatively low temperature using metal catalysts in aqueous phase. One of the catalysts, Ni, is a cheap material and it shows good property both in hydrogenation process and hydrogenolysis process. It was found that Ni is a relative effective catalyst for hydrogenation and hydrogenolysis of lignin. The yield for the process is ~6%, which is close to the highest yield could be found in the literature. Doping different metals with Ni catalyst and improve the morphology of the catalysts is the key in future study.

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