Hydrothermal liquefaction of lignin to aromatic chemicals: Impact of lignin structure

Yang Cao, Cheng Zhang, Daniel C.W. Tsang, Jiajun Fan, James H. Clark, Shicheng Zhang

Research output: Journal article publicationJournal articleAcademic researchpeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


There has been a growing interest in advanced technology that transforms biomass-derived feedstock into renewable chemicals. Hydrothermal liquefaction (HTL) of lignin into low-molecular-weight fragments (e.g., monomer, dimer, and oligomer), and subsequent catalyzed transformations, offer the promise of unlocking diverse aromatic products. In consideration of the diversity of lignin feedstocks, we shed light on the impact of variations in lignin structure on the conversion efficiency. This review aims to present the latest advances in the HTL of lignin and highlights key factors (reaction solvent, temperature, catalysts, and in particular lignin types) in reductive/oxidative processes by evaluating the yield of aromatic monomers and the selectivity of target products. The mechanistic studies based on lignin model compounds were summarized to provide deep understanding of the reaction pathways to prove the crucial roles of lignin structures and high-performance catalysts in controlling catalytic activity. Finally, we emphasize that advances in emerging HTL technology, catalyst design, and structural analysis hold promise for lignin valorization.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)16957-16969
Number of pages13
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number39
Publication statusPublished - 30 Sep 2020

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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