Gas-solid conversion of lignin to carboxylic acids
May 22-27, 2016
Lignin is the only source of aromatics from lignocellulosic biomass and is a potential alternative to petroleum as a sustainable source of chemicals . Lignin constitutes 15% to 40% of the dry weight of lignocellulose, but because its a complex heterogeneous molecule. Thermo-chemical processes break lignin down to light gases (CO, H2, CH4) and pyrolysis oils characterized by a wide range of compounds, which requires further processing. The challenge is to activate lignin at lower temperatures to reduce the yield of light gases and to target a narrow class of compounds. Catalysts can improve selectivity towards the target molecules at lower temperature but carbonaceous species coke the active sites within seconds and minutes. Here we describe a two stage reactor in which we oxidize and steam crack lignin in the first stage (at heating rate of 5°Cmin−1 up to 550°C) of lignin and catalytically oxidize the effluent in the second stage. We targeted carboxylic acids that have a higher market than biofuel. With a gas feed composition of 10% oxygen and 50% steam all the lignin reacted. In the second stage, vanadium catalyst cleaved the remaining lignin bonds and opened up aromatic rings to make carboxylic acids — mostly C4 acids. In the presence of vanadium pyrophosphate 24% of the lignin formed a condensable product of which 48% was maleic acid 31% C5-C8 aromatics and fumaric ,malonic and gallic acid. Only ∼ 5% of the lignin formed coke.
Samira Lotfi, Gregory S. Patience, and Daria C. Buffito, "Gas-solid conversion of lignin to carboxylic acids" in "Fluidization XV", Jamal Chaouki, Ecole Polytechnique de Montreal, Canada Franco Berruti, Wewstern University, Canada Xiaotao Bi, UBC, Canada Ray Cocco, PSRI Inc. USA Eds, ECI Symposium Series, (2016). https://dc.engconfintl.org/fluidization_xv/149