Lignin Valorization: Improving Lignin Processing by Catalysis
In the modern era of civilization, the unrestrained consumption of non-renewable fossilized fuels has pushed its terrestrial feedstock near annihilation. This has driven the development of alternatives such as agricultural and woody biomass as one such abundant source of energy. The consumption of the biomass largely leads to the generation of lignin, a complex polymeric organic compound, as a waste material. Synthetic retrospection of these lignin molecules reveals the immense resources hidden within that provide solution to the sustaining challenge of increasing the efficiency of energy production. The controlled valorization of lignin can lead to the generation of small molecules such as alcohols, ketones, acids, hydrocarbons, which constitute the backbone of all sources of energy and necessary fine chemicals. In our laboratory, we are directing to selective fragmentation of lignin in controlled manner by employing several sustainable techniques e.g. earth abundant metal catalysis, photochemical, electrochemical and biomimetic methods. Successful development of all these methods could be further employed in continuous flow technique for execution of large scale synthesis.