Power-to-chemicals: Low-temperature plasma for lignin depolymerisation in ethanol

2020-07-29

Lignin valorisation into renewable fuels and platform chemicals is desirable but still encounters major challenges due to lignin’s recalcitrant structure, and the lack of cost-, energy-, and material efficient conversion processes. Herein, we report a low-temperature plasma-based route to lignin depolymerisation at mild conditions. The discharge over ethanol surface locally creating a high-energy and reactive environment rich in free electrons, energetic H radicals, and other reactive species, is well suited for lignin depolymerisation. Furthermore, assisted with a Fenton reaction (by adding Fe2O3 and H2O2) to sustain a more oxidative environment, the lignin conversion yield increases from 42.6% to 66.0%. Thus-obtained renewable chemicals are rich in aromatics and dicarboxylic acid derivatives. The proposed strategy on intensifying reactive chemistry by high-power plasmas enables an effective power-to-chemicals conversion of lignin and may provide useful guidelines for modern biorefineries.

Authors: Rusen Zhou, Renwu Zhou, Sen Wang, U G Mihiri Ekanayake, Zhi Fang, Patrick J Cullen, Kateryna Bazaka, Kostya Ken Ostrikov
; Full Source: Bioresource technology 2020 Jul 29;123917. doi: 10.1016/j.biortech.2020.123917.