Aromatic synthetic building blocks from lignin
In the “Lignoplast” project fve academic and fve industrial partners are working on processes to develop lignin as a source of raw materials for aromatic synthesis components. The required aromatic compounds are obtained by means of hydrolytic degradation of the macromolecular lignins and then functionalized chemically and enzymatically to make adhesives, paints, polyurethanes and epoxides. The lignin-based products are used in trial materials and subsequently characterized in terms of their application technology and compared with conventional systems.
So far, the raw material lignin has only been used to a limited extent in niche products, for example as a concrete additive. A large part of the lignin, which represents the largest natural source of aromatic compounds and approx. 30 percent of the lignocellulose biomass is used to generate energy. The utilization of lignins to produce aromatic synthesis building blocks makes a signifcant contribution to the sustainable substitution of petrochemical resources. At the same time, this indicates a way of manufacturing high-quality and high-tech products on the basis of renewable resources.
A broad range of “green” product classes can be developed by means of the selective depolymerization of the macromolecular lignin and a targeted modifcation. BioCat investigates how higher molecular solids resulting from the base-catalyzed cleavage of lignin can be further broken down by catalysis.