Hydrothermal Liquefaction of α-O-4 Aryl Ether Linkages in Lignin

Matthew Yuk-Yu Lui*, Bun Chan, Alexander K.L. Yuen, Anthony F. Masters, Thomas Maschmeyer*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal articlepeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


By using lignin model compounds with relevant key characteristic structural features, the reaction pathways of α-O-4 aryl ether linkages under hydrothermal conditions are elucidated. Experimental results and computational modeling suggest that the α-O-4 linkages in lignin undergo catalyzed hydrolysis and elimination to give phenolic and alkenylbenzene derivatives as major products in subcritical water. The decreased relative permittivity of water at these high temperatures and pressures facilitates the elimination reactions. The alkyl group on the α-carbon and the methoxy groups on the phenyl rings both have positive effects on the rate of conversion of α-O-4 linkages in native lignin.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2002-2006
Number of pages5
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 21 Apr 2020

Scopus Subject Areas

  • Environmental Chemistry
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Materials Science(all)
  • Energy(all)

User-Defined Keywords

  • biomass
  • density functional calculations
  • hydrothermal reactions
  • lignin
  • reaction mechanisms


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