Oxidative Depolymerisation of Lignosulphonate Lignin into Low Molecular-Weight Products with Cu-Mn/δ-Al2O3

Omar Y. Abdelaziz, Sebastian Meier, Jens Prothmann, Charlotta Turner, Anders Riisager*, Christian P. Hulteberg

*Corresponding author for this work

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Lignin depolymerisation receives great attention due to the pressing need to find sustainable alternatives to fossil sources for production of fuels and chemicals. In this study, alumina-supported Cu-Mn and Ni-Mo catalysts were tested for oxidative depolymerisation of a technical lignin stream – sodium lignosulphonates – to produce valuable low-molecular-weight aromatics that may be considered for applications in the fuels and chemicals sector. The reactions were performed at elevated temperature and oxygen pressure, and the product mixtures were analysed by size exclusion chromatography (SEC), two-dimensional nuclear magnetic resonance (NMR) spectroscopy and supercritical fluid chromatography mass spectrometry (SFC-MS). The best performance was obtained with Cu-Mn/δ-Al2O3, which wasthoroughly characterised before and after use by nitrogen physisorption, scanning electron microscopy (SEM), energy dispersive spectroscopy (EDS), powder X-ray diffraction (XRD), thermal gravimetric analysis (TGA), inductively coupled plasma optical emission spectrometry (ICP-OES) and X-ray photoelectron spectroscopy (XPS). Major products identified were p-vanillin, p-hydroxybenzaldehyde, vanillic acid and p-hydroxybenzoic acid as well as smaller aliphatic aldehydes, acids and lactones.
Original languageEnglish
JournalTopics in Catalysis
Issue number7-11
Pages (from-to)639-648
Number of pages10
Publication statusPublished - 2019

Bibliographical note

This article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made.


  • Catalytic oxidation
  • Cu-Mn/Al2O3 catalyst
  • Heterogenerous catalysis
  • Lignin valorisation
  • Sodium lignosulphonates


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