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Lignin is one of the main components of lignocellulosic biomass and corresponds to the first renewable source of aromatic compounds. It is obtained as a by-product in 100 million tons per year, mainly from the paper industry, from which only 2-3% is upgraded for chemistry purposes, with the rest being used as an energy source. The richness of the functional groups in lignin makes it an attractive precursor for a wide variety of aromatic compounds. With this aim, we investigated the Pd-catalyzed depolymerization of lignin under mild oxidizing conditions (air, 150 & DEG;C, and aqueous NaOH) producing oxygenated aromatic compounds, such as vanillin, vanillic acid, and acetovanillone. Palladium catalysts were implemented following different strategies, involving nanoparticles stabilized in water, and nanoparticles were supported on TiO2. Significant conversion of lignin was observed in all cases; however, depending on the catalyst nature and the synthetic methods, differences were observed in terms of selectivity in aromatic monomers, mainly vanillin. All these aspects are discussed in detail in this report, which also provides new insights into the role that Pd-catalysts can play for the lignin depolymerization mechanism.


Bourbiaux, Dolores;  Xu, Yu;  Burel, Laurence;  Goc, Firat;  Fongarland, Pascal;  Philippe, Regis;  Aubert, Guillaume;  Aymonier, Cyril;  Rataboul, Franck;  Djakovitch, Laurent

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