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Physicochemical Characterisation of Technical Lignins for Their Potential Valorisation

ABSTRACT

Abstract Lignin, the second most abundant natural polymer, has emerged as a potential alternative material to petroleum-based chemicals and renewable resource for the production of diverse forms of aromatics, biofuels, and bio-based materials. Thus, it is becoming important to understand its structure and properties to provide key features and insights for better/efficient lignin valorisation. In this work, the physicochemical characterisation of two types of industrial (technical) lignins, namely LignoBoost lignin and alkali-treated lignin was performed. Characterisation has been conducted using Brunauer–Emmett–Teller N2 adsorption, particle size distribution, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, ultraviolet–visible absorption spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography, and thermogravimetric analysis. It was found that the pretreatment severity considerably influenced the lignin composition and functional properties. The measured physicochemical properties helped in proposing potential valorisation routes for these lignins in the context of a biorefinery, focusing on their depolymerisation and subsequent biological conversion to value-added chemicals and fuels.AbstractLignin, the second most abundant natural polymer, has emerged as a potential alternative material to petroleum-based chemicals and renewable resource for the production of diverse forms of aromatics, biofuels, and bio-based materials. Thus, it is becoming important to understand its structure and properties to provide key features and insights for better/efficient lignin valorisation. In this work, the physicochemical characterisation of two types of industrial (technical) lignins, namely LignoBoost lignin and alkali-treated lignin was performed. Characterisation has been conducted using Brunauer–Emmett–Teller N2 adsorption, particle size distribution, Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy, ultraviolet–visible absorption spectroscopy, gel permeation chromatography, and thermogravimetric analysis. It was found that the pretreatment severity considerably influenced the lignin composition and functional properties. The measured physicochemical properties helped in proposing potential valorisation routes for these lignins in the context of a biorefinery, focusing on their depolymerisation and subsequent biological conversion to value-added chemicals and fuels.2