A Novel, Cost-effective and Highly Efficient Production of Low Molecular Weight Bio – oils from Lignin/Lignocellulosic Biomass by Hydrolysis
Tech ID: W-16-012
Lignin is produced in large quantities as a by-product from the chemical pulping processes in the pulp/paper industry, with annual generation of kraft lignin reaching to 50 million tons worldwide. With the fast depletion of fossil reserves, the renewable and abundant lignocellulosic biomass (wood, sawdust/bark and crop residues, etc.) can be a potential substitute for petroleum for the production of fuels and chemicals. There are extensive research efforts in utilizing lignin after chemical/thermal modifications for chemical and materials applications. Lignin is the only biomass-derived polymer with aromatic functionality, however, due to its large molecular weight, it presents reactivity and compatibility challenges. In order to realize the potential of this biomass, processes to produce low molecular weight lignin is needed. New technologies are required for the de-polymerization or liquefaction of lignin, in order to improve its reactivity and functionality.
Description of the invention
Researchers at Western University have developed a cost-effective and highly efficient hydrothermal liquefaction process to produce low molecular weight bio-oils from hydrolysis lignin (HL) or lignocellulosic biomass. The process operates under mild conditions, with the help of an inexpensive catalyst. Has a very high biomass conversion (>95%) and a bio-oil yield (~ 70 wt%). In addition, the produced bio-oil through this process has a very low molecular weight (Mw < 1000 g/mol) and uniform molecular weight distribution (PDI < 2), compared with the very high molecular weight of the original feedstock (>20,000 g/mol, and in most cases immeasurable for HL).
The novelties of the process are as follows:
- Capable of producing low-Mw bio-oils from hydrolysis lignin (HL) or lignocellulosic biomass.
- The process operates under mild conditions (relatively low temperature < 300°C and pressure < 80 bar)
- Employs an inexpensive catalyst
- It has a high biomass conversion (>95%) and a bio-oil yield (~ 70 wt%)
- The produced bio-oil has a very low molecular weight (Mw < 1000 g/mol)
The low-Mw bio-oils from hydrolysis lignin (HL)/ lignocellulosic biomass produced through this process can be utilized effectively for the production of bio-based materials (e.g., phenolic/polyurethane/epoxy resins or foams) or bio-crude for the production of advanced bio-fuels (green diesel or jet fuels or fuel additives).
National Phase: Canada, China and USA.
- Commercial partner
- Development partner