Effect of Reaction Conditions on Catalytic and Noncatalytic Lignin Solvolysis in Water Media Investigated for a 5 L Reactor
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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- Department of Chemistry 
The high content of oxygen in the lignin polymer and the prevalence of phenolic functional groups make the conversion of lignin to fuels and value-added products with well-defined chemical properties challenging. The lignin-to-liquid process using a water/formic acid reaction medium has been shown to convert the lignin polymer to monomers with a molecular weight range of 300–600 Da. The bio-oil comprises a complex mixture of monomeric phenols, aromatics, and aliphatic hydrocarbons with a high H/C and low O/C ratio. This study investigates the effect of the stirring rate, level of loading, and catalyst at 305 and 350 °C in a 5 L pilot scale reactor. The oil yields are found to be highest for experiments conducted using the maximum stirring rate, maximum level of loading, and Ru/Al2O3 catalyst with yields of more than 69 wt % on lignin intake. Goethite as a catalyst does not show good conversion efficiency at either reaction temperatures. The carbon recovery is highest for products produced at 305 °C. Furthermore, results from solid phase extraction on a DSC-CN solid phase show that 65–92 wt % the bio-oils can be recovered as fractions separated based on polarity.