Depolymerization of organosolv lignin to aromatic compounds over Cu-doped porous metal oxides

Katalin Barta, Genoa R. Warner, Evan S. Beach, Paul T. Anastas

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

244 Scopus citations


Isolated, solvent-extracted lignin from candlenut (Aleurites moluccana) biomass was subjected to catalytic depolymerization in methanol with an added pressure of H2, using a porous metal oxide catalyst (PMO) derived from a Cu-doped hydrotalcite-like precursor. The Cu-PMO was effective in converting low-molecular weight lignin into simple mixtures of aromatic products in high yield, without char formation. Gel permeation chromatography was used to track changes in molecular weight as a result of the catalytic treatments and product mixtures were characterized by 1H and 13C NMR spectroscopy. In the temperature range 140-220 °C, unusual C9 catechols were obtained with high selectivity. Lignin conversion of >90% and recovery of methanol-soluble products in yields of was >70% was seen at 180 °C with optimized catalyst and biomass loadings. At 140 °C, 4-(3-hydroxypropyl)- catechol was the major product and could be isolated in high purity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)191-196
Number of pages6
JournalGreen Chemistry
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2014
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Pollution


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