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Wu, X., Jiao, W., Li, Y., Li, B. Z., Huang, Y., Zhang, H., Zhang, Y., Wang, Q., and Tang, Y. (2016). "Decomposition of β-O-4 linked lignin model compound in anhydrous ethanol without any added catalyst," BioRes. 11(4), 10349-10377.


The cleavage of a lignin model compound of 2-phenoxyacetophenone (2-PAP) was studied in an anhydrous ethanol solvent. A high conversion of 2-PAP (> 99%) to the desired products (> 80% for phenol) with impressive selectivity was achieved in a stainless steel (T316SS) autoclave without any added catalyst. The stainless steel was analyzed as being effective at catalyzing the decomposition of 2-PAP because of its hydrogen transfer activity and stabilization of reaction intermediates, while anhydrous ethanol served as both a solvent and hydrogen donator. An active hydrogen-promoted reaction network was proposed to explain these results. Further investigation demonstrated that the co-catalyst, Cs2.5H0.5PMo12O40, enhanced the cleavage efficiency, which resulted in high yields of the desired products (> 98% of phenol and > 91% of acetophenone). The proposed method in this study based on the stainless steel-promoted hydrogen transfer reaction, which had the merits of a high conversion efficiency and easy handling, can be expected to develop a promising process for further transformation of lignin to valuable multi-substituted aromatics.

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