APPLICATIONS OF TECHNOLOGY:
- Biochemical production
- Biofuel production
- Capable of dissolving lignin with more than 30 wt% in solvent
- Operable at low temperature and room temperature
- Inexpensive, non-toxic process
Researchers at the Joint BioEnergy Institute (JBEI) have developed a technology to dissolve and depolymerize lignin under low temperature in separate or coupled processes. The technology can dissolve the material with more than 30 wt% in solvent under low temperature, below 100°C. After dissolution and addition of anti-solvent, lignin can be precipitated efficiently from the system
The JBEI technology can be used with various ionic liquids (ILs) through one-pot integrated cellulosic ethanol production. Additionally, the invention involves a combination of hydrogen bond and proton donors for the low temperature processing and depolymerization. The presence of hydrogen peroxide also aids in producing dimer/monomer lignin products.
Lignin is one of the most abundant biopolymers and shows promise as a valuable source of chemicals. However, its conversion into useful chemicals is challenging because depolymerization with selective bond cleavage is required. Unlike current approaches that require sulfuric acid or alkali under much higher temperatures, resulting in high-energy consumption as well as waste emissions, the JBEI technology efficiently dissolves and depolymerizes the biopolymer into lower molecular weight under less severe conditions.
DEVELOPMENT STAGE: Proven principle
FOR MORE INFORMATION:
Sun, J., Dutta, T., Parthasarathi, R., Kim, K., Tolic, N., Chu, R., Isern, N., Cort, J., Simmons, B., Singh, S. “Rapid room temperature solubilization and depolymerization of polymeric lignin at high loadings,” Green Chemistry (18), 2016, 6012-6020.
STATUS: Patent pending. Available for licensing or collaborative research.
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