With our society facing challenges related to sustainability i.e. resource depletion and waste accumulation, the future success of the chemical and polymer industries relies on the use of renewable feedstocks.

Lignin, one of the main components of non-edible lignocellulosic biomass shows great potential as a renewable feedstock. Lignin’s potential lies in its structure. It is the most abundant aromatic biopolymer and is produced in millions of tons as agroforestry and agricultural waste. Therefore, the efficient valorization of lignin is very important for the viability of biorefinery processes.

The present innovation describes the conversion of lignin to value-added functionalized aromatic monomers using mild oxidizing conditions. The technique preserves the integrity of desirable carbonyl, methoxy and hydroxyl groups, and is useful for making aromatic aldehydes such as vanillin and syringaldehyde in high yields, avoiding normally used highly acidic and strongly alkaline conditions.

The chemical and polymer industries are investigating alternative green and renewable sources for their raw materials. This technology addresses how a waste product from the agricultural and agroforestry industries can be valorized through its conversion to value-added functionalized aromatic compounds. The innovation is selective and mild, producing functionalized aromatic compounds that can be used as building blocks in the chemical and polymer industries.

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