Biomass, Volume 1, Issue 1 (September 2021) – 3 articles

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Review
Deep Eutectic Solvents for the Valorisation of Lignocellulosic Biomasses towards Fine Chemicals
Biomass 2021, 1(1), 29-59; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomass1010003 - 12 Jul 2021
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Abstract
The growing demand for energy and materials in modern society pushes scientific research to finding new alternative sources to traditional fossil feedstocks. The exploitation of biomass promises to be among the viable alternatives with a lower environmental impact. Making biomass exploitation technologies applicable [...] Read more.
The growing demand for energy and materials in modern society pushes scientific research to finding new alternative sources to traditional fossil feedstocks. The exploitation of biomass promises to be among the viable alternatives with a lower environmental impact. Making biomass exploitation technologies applicable at an industrial level represents one of the main goals for our society. In this work, the most recent scientific studies concerning the enhancement of lignocellulosic biomasses through the use of deep eutectic solvent (DES) systems have been examined and reported. DESs have an excellent potential for the fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass: the high H-bond capacity and polarity allow the lignin to be deconvolved, making it easier to break down the lignocellulosic complex, producing a free crystallite of cellulose capable of being exploited and valorised. DESs offer valid alternatives of using the potential of lignin (producing aromatics), hemicellulose (achieving furfural) and cellulose (delivering freely degradable substrates through enzymatic transformation into glucose). In this review, the mechanism of DES in the fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass and the main possible uses for the valorisation of lignin, hemicellulose and cellulose were reported, with a critical discussion of the perspectives and limits for industrial application. Full article
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Article
Targeted Substituted-Phenol Production by Strategic Hydrogenolysis of Sugar-Cane Lignin
Biomass 2021, 1(1), 11-28; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomass1010002 - 18 Jun 2021
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Abstract
In this work, a waste-derived lignin with abundant uncondensed linkages, using accessible solvents (acetone/water mixture) and low-cost catalysts showed successful depolymerization for the production of target molecules 4-ethylphenol, 4-propyl-2,6-dimethoxyphenol and 4-propyl-2-methoxyphenol. Lignin samples were obtained from sugar-cane bagasse residue by an organosolv process. [...] Read more.
In this work, a waste-derived lignin with abundant uncondensed linkages, using accessible solvents (acetone/water mixture) and low-cost catalysts showed successful depolymerization for the production of target molecules 4-ethylphenol, 4-propyl-2,6-dimethoxyphenol and 4-propyl-2-methoxyphenol. Lignin samples were obtained from sugar-cane bagasse residue by an organosolv process. Four alumina-based catalysts (Pt/Al2O3, Rh/Al2O3, Ni/Al2O3 and Fe/Al2O3) were used to depolymerize the sugar cane lignin (SCL) in an acetone/water mixture 50/50 v/v at 573 K and 20 barg hydrogen. This strategic depolymerisation-hydrogenolysis process resulted in the molecular weight of the SCL being reduced by half while the polydispersity also decreased. Catalysts significantly improved product yield compared to thermolysis. Specific metals directed product distribution and yield, Rh/Al2O3 gave the highest overall yield (13%), but Ni/Al2O3 showed the highest selectivity to a given product (~32% to 4-ethylphenol). Mechanistic routes were proposed either from lignin fragments or from the main polymer. Catalysts showed evidence of carbon laydown that was specific to the lignin rather than the catalyst. These results showed that control over selectivity could be achievable by appropriate combination of catalyst, lignin and solvent mixture. Full article
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Article
Pretreatment of Loblolly Pine Tree Needles Using Deep Eutectic Solvents
Biomass 2021, 1(1), 1-10; https://0-doi-org.brum.beds.ac.uk/10.3390/biomass1010001 - 01 Jun 2021
Viewed by 542
Abstract
Deep eutectic solvents (DES) are new ‘green’ solvents that have a high potential for biomass processing because of their low cost, low toxicity, biodegradability, and easy recycling. When Loblolly pine trees are harvested, their branches with needles are typically left in brush piles [...] Read more.
Deep eutectic solvents (DES) are new ‘green’ solvents that have a high potential for biomass processing because of their low cost, low toxicity, biodegradability, and easy recycling. When Loblolly pine trees are harvested, their branches with needles are typically left in brush piles and decompose very slowly. Exploring the effect of DES pretreatment on waste pine needles was the goal of the present work. Loblolly pine needles were treated with three types of DES to prepare the biomass for enzymatic hydrolysis to glucose, a subject not readily found in the literature. The resulting products were analyzed by Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, fiber analysis, and high-performance liquid chromatography. Glucose yields after pretreatment and hydrolysis were found to be six times that for untreated biomass with two of the DES. Fiber analysis indicated removal of lignin, hemicellulose, and ash from the needle biomass. Enhanced glucose yield was due to removal of lignin and disruption of biomass structure during pretreatment, so that the pretreated biomass was rich in cellulosic content. Based on the results shown in this study, among the three types of DES, formic acid:choline chloride and acetic acid:choline chloride pretreatment had better potential for biomass pretreatment compared to lactic acid:choline chloride. Full article
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