Enzymatic hydrolysis lignin dissolution and low-temperature solvolysis in ethylene glycol

Yushuai Sang, Yuhan Ma, Gen Li, Kai Cui, Mingze Yang, Hong Chen, Yongdan Li*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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The dissolution and solvolysis processes of enzymatic hydrolysis lignin (EHL) in ethylene glycol are investigated. Ethylene glycol exhibits high EHL solubility and achieves complete EHL dissolution at room temperature. Gaussian simulation reveals that van de Waals interactions between ethylene glycol and EHL, including C-H⋯O and lone pair⋯π interactions, break the π-π stacking in EHL, achieving complete EHL dissolution. EHL is partly depolymerized in ethylene glycol at 200 °C even without a catalyst due to the strong van de Waals interactions. When NaOH and Ni are used as co-catalysts, EHL is efficiently depolymerized at 200 °C, and the overall monomer yield reaches 18.8 wt%. Fourier transform infrared spectroscopy (FT-IR) and molecular dynamics simulation results indicate that the adsorption of ethylene glycol over Ni surface hinders the adsorption of lignin fragments and monomers. Hence, EHL catalytic solvolysis in ethylene glycol occurs in the liquid phase, where OH of NaOH promotes the EHL linkage breakage and active hydrogen atoms formed on Ni surface stabilize the active monomers.

Original languageEnglish
Article number142256
Number of pages11
JournalChemical Engineering Journal
Early online date16 Mar 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2023
MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


  • Catalysis
  • Dissolution
  • Ethylene glycol
  • Lignin
  • Solvolysis


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