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SJTU Researchers Made Progress in High-Value Utilization of Biomass

November 02, 2020      Author:

Recently, the combustion and energy research team from the School of Mechanism Engineering, SJTU published the research paper titled “Evidence of phenolic pool as a key intermediate for zeolite-catalyzed lignin pyrolysis” in Angewandte Chemie International Edition, a top journal in chemical engineering. They report online detection and structural identification of phenolic polymer generated during the catalytic pyrolysis of lignin, demonstrating that phenolic pool is a key intermediate during this process, which showcases its great importance for the high-value utilization of biomass. Doctoral student Liu Chunjiang from School of Mechanism Engineering, SJTU is the first author, and Associate Professor Zhou Zhongyue and Associate Professor Jia Lliangyuan from Hefei University of Technology are the corresponding authors.

With the newly developed in-situ atmospheric pressure photoionization mass spectrometry, they made great headway in identifying macromolecule reactive intermediates. Phenolic oligomers were detected for the first time at the molecular level during zeolite-catalyzed pyrolysis of lignin. Observed oligomeric compounds include hexamers. This proves to be the most direct evidence for “phenolic pool” mechanism so far and that phenolic pool-related oligomers are an important intermediate during zeolite-catalyzed pyrolysis of lignin. Their efforts would be of vital importance for the deeper understanding of the catalyst deactivation mechanism and provide insights into the optimization of catalyst.

The research was sponsored by National Key R&D Program of China and the National Natural Science Foundation of China.

 

ABSTRACT:

Phenolic pool is considered to be an important intermediate during catalytic conversion of biomass. However, no direct evidence has been reported on its full picture in molecular level, due to the huge challenges in probing the reactive and low volatile phenolic oligomers with the state‐of‐the‐art technologies. Herein, we reported online detection and structural identification of phenolic pool by utilizing an in situ atmospheric pressure photoionization mass spectrometry, demonstrating that the phenolic pool is formed through monomers' repolymerization with an equidistant grouped pattern, and acts as a key mechanistic step for both valuable aromatic products and undesired coke. The exploration of the real reactive species is also of great importance for the rational design and synthesis of advanced catalysts with high activity.

 

Author: New Energy and Power Research Institute

Affiliation: School of Mechanism Engineering

Translated by Zhang Wenying