(434c) Selectively Cleaving Carbon?Carbon Interunit Linkages in Lignins to Boost Monomer Production

Shuai, L., University of Delaware
Vlachos, D. G., University of Delaware
Saha, B., University of Delaware

In recent years tremendous efforts have been made to valorize lignin. One of the extensively-studied pathways is to depolymerize lignin biopolymer into monomers. Typically, monomer yields of 10-50% can be obtained by cleaving beta-O-4 interunit carbon─oxygen linkages present in various lignins. Further improvement of monomer yields is limited by interunit carbon─carbon linkages formed during lignin biosynthesis and biomass pretreatment. To fully valorize lignin, it is essential to find a proper way to cleave these carbon─carbon linkages. In this presentation, we will report our recent work on screening catalyst for disrupting interunit carbon─carbon linkages in lignins. We found a series of inexpensive non-noble metal catalysts able to selectively cleave various interunit carbon─carbon linkages in dimeric lignin models at moderate temperatures. With these catalysts, improved monomer yields were obtained from condensed technical lignins by cleaving not only interunit carbon─oxygen but also interunit carbon─carbon linkages.