Lignin Valorization

2 min read

In the last decade, lignocelluloses have drawn the scientific community’s attention as a rich resource for 2G ethanol production and other by-products. This is highly important because of many reasons. It mainly include climate change concerns. Also the risks of interruptions in food supply chains in various parts of the world are becoming more urgent. In this circular economy, lignin valorization in biorefineries serve as the highly suitable industrial platform to develop the essential chemical changes.

Biorefineries are defined by the IEA as the sustainable processing of residual biomass into a wide range of bio-based products. It mainly includes food, feed, materials, chemicals etc and bioenergy like fuels, power, heat etc. Furthermore, the main goal of the biorefineries are the complete valorization of stubble. Thereby lowering the environmental pollution through an alternative energy or materials and to achieve less dependency on fossil-based fuels and materials.
Regarding the lignocellulosic biorefineries, there are still important limitations that still make them non-cost-competitive.

The first commercial lignocellulosic ethanol production facility started in the U.S (2013). Initially plan consists of the construction of 5 lignocellulosic ethanol plants from 2013 to 2016. However only one ethanol plant was in operation in 2019. Moreover, the maximum lignocellulosic ethanol production from this biomass source peaked in 2018 at 15 million gallons. Far behind the expected target of 7 billion gallons expected. As a result of the ability to produce low to high-value compounds on a large and stable basis from lignin. Lignocellulosic biorefineries could potentially become more economically viable. Also competitive by offering a diverse range of products instead of just methanol.

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