Gold-catalyzed conversion of lignin to low molecular weight aromatics


A heterogeneous catalyst system, employing Au nanoparticles (NPs) and Li-Al (1:2) layered double hydroxide (LDH) as support, showed excellent activity in aerobic oxidation of the benzylic alcohol group in β-O-4 linked lignin model dimers to the corresponding carbonyl products using molecular oxygen under atmospheric pressure. The synergistic effect between Au NPs and the basic Li-Al LDH support induces further reaction of the oxidized model compounds, facilitating facile cleavage of the β-O-4 linkage. Extension to oxidation of γ-valerolactone (GVL) extracted lignin and kraft lignin using Au/Li-Al LDH under similar conditions produced a range of aromatic monomers in high yield. Hydrolysis of the Au/Li-Al LDH oxidized lignin was found to increase the degree of lignin depolymerization, with monomer yields reaching 40% for GVL extracted lignin. Based on these results, the Au/Li-Al LDH + O2 catalyst system shows potential to be an environmentally friendly means of depolymerizing lignin to low molecular weight aromatics under mild conditions.

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Divisions: Engineering & Applied Sciences
Additional Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported Licence.
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chemistry(all)
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PURE Output Type: Article
Published Date: 2018-09-06
Accepted Date: 2018-08-24
Authors: Song, Yang
Mobley, Justin K.
Motagamwala, Ali Hussain
Isaacs, Mark
Dumesic, James A.
Ralph, John
Lee, Adam F.
Wilson, Karen
Crocker, Mark


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