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Efficient Processing of Lignin to Bioproducts and Biofuels

Chair(s):
Yang, B., Washington State University
Co-chair(s):
Yuan, J., Texas A&M University
Ragauskas, A. J., University of Tennessee

The current vision of biorefineries undervalues lignin’s potential to address the world’s high-quality product requirements. The utilization of waste lignin as a feedstock for conversion to bioproducts and biofuels offers a significant opportunity to enhance the overall operation efficiency, carbon conversion rate, economic viability, and sustainability of biofuels production. The development of selective and robust bio/chemical catalytic processes specifically designed for lignin conversion must be a core effort for biorefineries to develop. The challenge, however, is the propensity of the aromatic lignin macromolecular assembly to condense and degrade, thereby generating high amounts of relatively intractable solid residues in some biorefinery processes. Therefore, depolymerization of lignin and its subsequent conversion into value-added products is vital to enhance the profitability of biorefineries. Valorizing lignin remains a major goal in the realm of bioprocessing. This can be accomplished through continued implementation of creative, bio/chemical catalytic tactics for favorably altering the reactivity and chemistry of lignin to yield transportation biofuels and bioproducts.

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