APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Generation of polymer products from lignin (e.g., lignosulfonate polymer products)
- Dispersants, water-purification agents, water-adsorbing materials, and soil amendment
- CMF lignin is likely to be produced at lower cost compared to prior approach using polyacrylic based materials
- Process generates less hazardous waste or pollutants compared to that used to produce lignosulfonates
- Ability to tune the molecular weight (MW) to specific applications
The CMF process transforms insoluble lignin into a water-soluble polymer, which can be used in a host of products and can enable an economically viable biomass industry. The original semi-batch process requires repeated centrifugation steps to separate the water-soluble polyacid product from the portion of lignin that remains insoluble at each reaction stage. The previous CMF process also requires a concentration step as the process results in a polyacid product that is present in solution at roughly 4% solids.
Michael S. Kent at JBEI has created various modifications to the Chelator-Mediated Fenton (CMF) process. The CMF process transforms insoluble lignin into a water-soluble polymer by opening aromatic rings and generating carboxylic acid groups. Novel aspects of the process include the careful selection of reaction conditions, in particular the sequence of addition of the reactants, to achieve a high extent of de-aromatization along with high solids content, without a separation step or product concentration step.
2019-152: This modification to the CMF process eliminates the need for potentially costly i) separation and ii) concentration steps. The key aspect for the advance was to determine a sequence of addition of lignin and reactants to achieve high lignin loading and yet retain the ability to mix throughout the process. Best results to date give 100% overall yield and 1.4 g polyacid per g H2O2 consumed. The modified process also results in a product at > 20% solids, eliminating the need for a concentration step.
2019-054: The novelty of this invention is in the use of the highly hydrophilic, polyacid material derived from lignin by the CMF process to enhance soil properties. Specifically, the lignins processed with CMF will perform well as soil enhancers for two applications: i) soilization of desert lands and ii) soil amendment.
2021-042: This is an inexpensive method to increase the molecular weight (MW) of lignosulfonates and other lignins. New results show that when the CMF reaction is performed at high iron concentration (>10 mM), it results in a very strong increase in the MW of lignosulfonate. Increasing the MW of lignosulfates will be beneficial for some commercial applications (e.g., dispersion of cement particles in the manufacture of concrete).
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
STATUS: Patent pending.
OPPORTUNITIES: Available for licensing or collaborative research.
SEE THESE OTHER BERKELEY LAB TECHNOLOGIES IN THIS FIELD:
Depolymerizing Lignin Using a Chelator-Mediated Fenton Reaction 2015-029