Valorization of Pyrolysis Liquids: Ozonation of the Pyrolytic Lignin Fraction and Model Components

Figueirêdo, M. B., Deuss, P. J., Venderbosch, R. H. & Heeres, H. J., 4-Mar-2019, In : ACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering. 7, 5, p. 4755-4765 11 p.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

Pyrolytic lignin is the collective name of the lignin-derived fraction of pyrolysis liquids. Conversion of this fraction to biobased chemicals is considered an attractive valorization route. Here we report experimental studies on the ozonation of a pine-derived pyrolytic lignin dissolved in methanol (33 wt %). Results show a high reactivity of ozone, and a molecular weight reduction of up to 40% was obtained under mild conditions (0 °C, atmospheric pressure) without the need for catalysts. Detailed analysis of the product mixtures (GC/MS-FID, HPLC, GPC, NMR) showed the presence of low molecular weight (di)acids and esters, along with larger highly oxygenated aliphatics. A reaction network is proposed including the heterolytic cleavage of aromatic rings, followed by secondary reactions. The observations were supported by experimental studies using representative pyrolytic lignin model compounds and a biosynthetic lignin oligomer, which aided further elucidation on the reactivity trends for different chemical functionalities. Accordingly, the presence of hydroxy and methoxy substituents on the aromatic rings is shown to be the main reason for the high reactivity of pyrolytic lignin upon ozone exposure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)4755-4765
Number of pages11
JournalACS Sustainable Chemistry and Engineering
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 4-Mar-2019


  • Biobased chemicals, Oxidation, Ozonation, Pyrolytic lignin

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