Unleashing lignin potential from waste lignocellulosic biomass
Filippo Brienza recently completed his PhD in the groups of Iwona Cybulska (ELI) and of Damien Debecker (IMCN). His work was focused on "Extending the scope of reductive lignin depolymerization toward new feedstocks and innovative non-metal approaches“. Among other things, the team has invented (and patented) a new reductive process based on the use of sodium dithionite. Recently, a thorough study was published in the Chemical Engineering Journal, discussing how an organosolv fractionation of lignocellulosic biomass can be boosted by adding sodium dithionite, providing high yields of monophenolics together with a high quality cellulosic pulp. A technico-economic assessment of the process demonstrated the pertinence of this dithionite-assisted organosolv fractionnation methods for the sustainable upgrading of lignocellulosic biomass in future biorefineries.