Principal investigator: dr. Ramesh Kumar Chowdari
To become carbon-neutral by 2050 in line with the European Green Deal, Europe must transform its energy system, which is responsible for 75% of the EU's greenhouse gas emissions. The recent EU Strategy for Energy System Integration will provide the framework for the green energy transition by unlocking the potential of sustainable biomass. Lignocellulosic biomass is currently considered a waste that will be a valuable feedstock for future bio-refineries producing second-generation biofuels and aromatics. In plant biomass, lignin is the only material that can be used to produce six-membered aromatic chemicals such as BTX, which are composed of the very abundant six-membered carbon rings. The state-of-the-art in hydrotreating lignin involves depolymerization of lignin to oligomers, followed by hydrodeoxygenation (HDO) to produce monomers. The major drawbacks of batch reactions for solvent-free lignin hydrotreatment are the long contact time and high hydrogen pressures leading to the formation of ring hydrogenated products (low value). The selection of catalyst and hydrotreatment techniques plays a pivotal role in achieving aromatics with high yields. The strategic frontier of the Lig2VAC project (Hydrotreatment of lignin to BTX) is to develop a novel method to produce aromatics using the catalytic hydrotreatment process under solvent-free conditions. I propose Dandelion type single shell microsphere catalysts with high HDO ability in solvent-free hydrotreatment of Kraft lignin in semi-continuous and continuous reactors. Lig2VAC will enable me to achieve my personal long-term goal of becoming a leader in chemical engineering and catalysis related to lignin utilization through experimentation in continuous reactors. The action includes training-through research to advance my future academic career and enhance my employability in the biorefinery industry.
The project is co-financed by ARRS with 1466 annual hours of price class E for a period of 2 years. Funding starts on March 1, 2022.
At the National Institute of Chemistry the project group includes:
dr. Ramesh Kumar Chowdari; SICRIS št. 56390 https://cris.cobiss.net/ecris/si/sl/researcher/53280